Workplace wellbeing must be an employer's priority

May 11th, 2018 by Susan Fulton, Director of People in Recruitment

CSC Colleagues

Workplace wellbeing really has really come into the fore, with employers up and down the UK taking note of its importance and rolling out their own strategies to help manage it.

As Director of People at Home Group, my job centres around, well, people! My team and I were hugely involved in how we deliver on our aim of improving and maintaining mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. For some time now, the mental health of colleagues has been a priority at Home Group. It’s refreshing, almost liberating to see that understanding and participation grow so quickly. It's trend predicted at the start of the year by Marketing Week and one that would become an employer’s requirement rather than an optional extra.

Here at Home Group we wholeheartedly welcome this. We’re continually developing our wellbeing strategy to meet the needs of our colleagues. After all, our colleagues are all unique.

Research has shown that wellbeing and employee engagement tend to go hand in hand, and it’s great to see that more and more employers are honouring this through wellbeing services, support and opportunities.

Home Group’s wellbeing strategy is founded on this relationship, and developed by a wellbeing group comprising managers and colleagues from all areas of our business.

One way in which colleagues can access support is through 24/7 access to Care First’s counselling line. Or, if speaking to peers is more helpful, there’s a closed group on our Workplace Facebook portal where colleagues support one another with mental health challenges.

Our approach isn’t that of a one-size-fits-all ethos, which is why we offer a number of different options for getting support. And for some, just knowing that help is there when it’s needed is enough.

If we’re to get the widespread commitment to workplace wellbeing that we need, we need an integrated approach, from government level down to individual employers.

It isn’t a competition, and thus we shouldn’t work against each other, but rather assist one another. Companies, businesses and charities need to jointly discuss and develop the way in which we look at wellbeing and how we support it.

Best practice is something that’s achieved by innovating, and also listening, and one way we do that at Home Group is guided by our Time to Change pledge.

Led by mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, Time to Change aims to change the way we think and act about mental health. And as an organisation, we have committed to supporting this aim.

Often the biggest barriers to dealing with mental health problems can be understanding them. By encouraging open discussion we can do just that. Dispelling the myths and misunderstandings can go a long way to getting the result we want — a happy and healthy workforce.

We've seen an increase in the amount of employers going public with their commitment, but there’s still more to do. We're committed to spreading the word to other employers, encouraging them to sign the Time to Change pledge, and put colleague wellbeing at the heart of their HR strategy.