How we’ve helped other organisations with their health and wellbeing journeys

“Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.”

The organisations we work for take the wellbeing of their staff very seriously and have often made it an organisational priority. We have worked with many organisations who requested our help to promote the benefits of physical health and psychological wellbeing at work.

Below are some specific case studies illustrate how we have done this.

1. Proactive approach to mental health

A leading retail company recognised that most of their sickness absence, was related to stress and anxiety. They wanted help for those experiencing poor mental health and the all people supporting them in the workplace.

We suggested:

We ran a series workshops specifically designed to help all employees, as our client recognised the value of empowering all team members and not just managers, as shift patterns, working relationships and global differences mean that there is no single person who employees turn to at their moment of need.

We ran sessions that ensured all employees would

  • Understand more about common workplace conditions such as stress and anxiety
  • Provide guidance on the signs to look out for that indicate when the individual themselves or a colleague might be struggling
  • Feel confident on how they can open up conversations to discuss these issues in a sensitive and appropriate way
  • Be better informed and more confident signposting colleagues (or themselves) to professional support

The outcome:

Employees felt the training and advise made them feel more empowered to make a positive difference to their own individual wellbeing and better equipped to support their colleague’s wellbeing.

2. Company M&A causes low morale and high attrition rates resulting in low engagement

A large company recently acquired a second smaller company and asked for our help after their annual employee survey showed low employee engagement levels, high staff turnover, increasing levels of absenteeism and low staff morale for the first time.

Understanding the problem:

The company asked us to introduce cross company health and wellbeing activities, as part of their attempt to improve their previously high, engagement scores – reduce attrition and sickness absence. The company recognised that all employees would benefit from the programme, and that it was important that everyone felt part of the integrated programme and reduce the ‘them’ and ‘us’ feeling, which had become prevalent after the merger.

What we did:

Sally and her team held health and wellbeing forums where employees were able to influence the new joint company’s approach and culture and decide what internal events and activities, we should offer. We also used Health and Wellbeing champions to share regular communications about the programmes’ progress, generate new ideas, and celebrate success.

The outcome:

The new company could immediately see that the approach was working with a tangible improvement in cross working and less them and us. And the next annual survey reported improved engagement scores, higher retention rates and lower sickness absence.

They commented that our ‘Be brave, bold and courageous’ approach allowed the management team to extend trust which bred responsibility and loyalty in return and that they would continue to embed wellbeing and engagement in the heart of all future corporate strategy to maintain this cultural shift in the organisation.

3. Retention

A small factory approached us to help them after the death of a colleague prompted them to offer onsite health checks to all their employees and were struggling to know what to do after discovering the results were poor.

We were asked to:

Help employees shift their view of their ability to improve their health, engage in preventative activities, and be inspired to adopt new healthier behaviours that benefit individuals and their families.

What we did:

We set up, advised and supported small employee led initiatives, interventions and communications.

Each event was linked back to the employees’ results, which we used to promote the education sessions which we used to encourage employees to make more informed decisions in adopting a healthier lifestyle.

All the wellbeing initiatives were aligned under quarterly themes with slightly different communication templates to correspond to each theme to maintain interest and reach all members of the diverse company demographics.

The outcome:

The results were incredible. Individual success stories:

 “I have found the Sally Gunnel Health Programme kick started the improvements to my health and lifestyle.  Sally’s team were very helpful and informative and provided relevant and proactive advice on how changes can be made and their impact”

“I now feel healthier and more confident, and the follow up Health Check has enabled me to really see the impact of my changes and how they have ‘paid off’. “

“I liked being able to measure the before and after as it gave me a better incentive to improve my overall health and fitness.”

“I found knowing that we would be meeting at regular intervals helpful and this motivated me to stay focused and off the tobacco. It’s these little things that can make the difference if you plan to change your life.”

“The talks were excellent, I liked the way the different team members present the facts in a very non-judgemental way. They treated us like the adults we are, and I found this more encouraging than being made to feel guilty. I am extremely grateful for having these sessions.”

4. Leadership and Culture

We were asked:

To develop a programme around the “5 ways to wellbeing” that leaders could support and roll out to our employees who work across a diverse variety of teams, projects and client engagements, and so often do not have a consistent company approach to wellbeing across our 5 European offices.

What we did:

We helped create a structured wellbeing programme dedicated to the different wellbeing strands. Each senior leader was given different responsibilities to ensure programme delivery was uniformly supported and beneficial to all. The leaders were tasked with helping us deliver and support the wellbeing of each of their reporting teams.

Sally used her experience and knowledge of the physical and mental challenges she overcame on her own journey and shared her philosophy that small changes, consistently made, really do make a difference. So, no matter where employees were on their own Wellbeing journey – Sally and her team provided challenges, ideas and some fresh approaches that appealed to the office-based employees across the whole company, using wellbeing champions, technology and the company charity partner to encourage employees to join in.

The outcome:

With strong internal leadership driving this initiative, Sally’s team were enabled and supported to deliver a successful unified companywide wellbeing programme across Europe. Employees recognised that subtle small changes in their wellbeing could reap impressive sustainable results in their physical and mental health.

One of the most important aspects of this programme was facilitating peer group learning opportunities for people managers. We also provided very clear guidance on when managers should seek support from professional experts, where they feel someone may be at risk or need specific help.

The measurable results were seen across all the wellbeing questions on the employee engagement survey with the biggest improvement in the Culture and leadership section.

5. Specific Wellbeing Expertise

We were asked:

By a call centre for a leading energy company to help them with the nutritional aspect of their wellbeing programme.

They had identified through their employee led focus groups that their predominantly middle aged female staff wanted help to lose weight. Sally and her team worked with the onsite catering company to develop a menu that allowed all staff to choose a healthy option at lunch time. This was endorsed by simple fitness advise and education with the aim of helping the employees feel more in control of what they ate and why.

The programme was run on a 12-week cycle and the employees who enrolled on the first programme became such amazing advocates that the second 12-week programme had double the number of employees enrol.

The outcome:

The result was more than the expected weight loss. As well as the ongoing weight loss achieved by 65% of the participants, the unexpected outcome was the positive social interactions in the office, commented on by not only the programme participants but also their colleagues.

The annual staff survey reported an increased engagement score and the attrition rate, which was previously very high dropped, after the programme was implemented and maintained.

6. Poor attendance

A large office in the North East was experiencing very high sickness absence

We were asked:

To improve all aspects of the employee’s wellbeing through an educational programme supported by simple on-site initiatives.

What we did:

The team provided very simple education sessions about how to improve your own wellbeing – focusing on nutrition, hydration, sleep, smoking cessation, mental resilience and exercise.

The education sessions were supported by a several simple on-site activities – gym challenges – sleep reports and a stamp reward system for choosing healthy food options in the staff canteen.

The outcome:

A few weeks into the programme absences, were already noticeably reducing and healthy options in the canteen (which were given free when chosen on the fifth consecutive day) had significantly increased. The organisation was reassured that the cost we had calculated of the ‘free’ healthy meals was fully covered by the reduced cost of hiring temporary staff.

Absence continued to fall during the programme along with the attrition rate. 1year post programme the staff also showed a positive score for the first time when asked “do you think your organisation cares about your wellbeing?”

The organisation continues to run education sessions and simple new challenges each year, using the budget previously assigned to pay temporary staff to provide cover when the absence rate was much higher.

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