According to the CIPD, staff wellbeing and health should form a core part of any HR strategy and at Happy Futures we take this advice to heart. Companies have a duty and responsibility to look after employees’ mental and wellbeing needs and we have designed, developed and implemented a staff wellbeing programme which has been running since February 2020.
The International Labour Organisation describes workplace wellbeing as a concept that covers all aspects of working life, including quality, safety, the working environment and climate, as well as how workers think and feel about their work.
So why is staff wellbeing important? MindWell lists the following benefits of adopting a staff wellbeing process within the company:
- It can lead to an increase in commitment and productivity by staff who feel valued and heard.
- It can keep staff for longer, increasing the staff retention rate and reducing recruitment costs.
- If staff feel their wellbeing needs are met, it will most likely reduce the amount of sick leave taken by staff.
- It can have a positive effect on stress levels amongst staff and can assist with effective problem solving.
- It can also send out a powerful message to the larger community which in turn can attract a high-quality workforce.
The benefits of having a staff wellbeing programme and strategy within the organisation are endless and since implementing the programme, we have started to see the benefits of this strategy on the workforce as well as on the business.
The initial design of the programme started in January 2020 and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we knew it was more important than ever to drive this initiative forward and to focus on staff mental health and wellbeing. To ensure everyone could benefit from and participate in this programme, we developed themes which we felt were important topics to cover.
With every monthly theme, information, articles, advice, quizzes and freebies were sent and given to staff to truly incorporate the topics and to keep it relevant throughout the month. Some of the themes and topics of the 2020 Staff Wellbeing programme included the following:
Spring Sweat Sessions: The focus was on physical activity, fitness, the benefits of being active and ideas were sent on all the different sports and activities within the area which they could try. All staff were given a reusable water bottle as part of the programme and information was sent about the importance of hydration.
Mental Health May: One very important subject when considering staff wellbeing is mental health. During this month we put a special focus on this topic, and we sent out numerous sources of helpful information to staff on who to contact if they need support with their mental health and we designed a mental health checklist with ideas and activities to assist with mental wellbeing.
Fun In The Sun: During the summer months we ordered all of our staff a Happy Futures branded cap, sunblock and sunglasses and we issued important information on how to stay safe in the warm and sunny weather during the summer months.
Snack Attack: For the month of July we focused on healthy eating and nutrition, and staff were given information on the importance of vitamins and minerals, on balanced eating and we partnered with Roots of Yggdrasil (a local business in Scarborough) who developed a nutrition programme for all staff.
We also handed out snack boxes consisting of healthy and delicious snacks, which were given to all staff and to the individuals supported by Happy Futures.
We value staff feedback and ideas and following the first year of the implementation of the staff wellbeing programme, we sent out a survey to collect feedback from staff on what they enjoyed about the programme and how to improve it for 2021. The feedback received was extremely positive and gave us a good understanding of what the staff regard as important topics of wellbeing.
Following the successful implementation of the 2020 wellbeing programme, it was continued into 2021 with 12 brand new themes. Some of the topics covered so far in the wellbeing programme for 2021 include:
MIND: April was National Stress Awareness month and as part of the wellbeing programme we focused on calming and stress relief techniques and sent out mindfulness adult colouring sheets.
ENERGY: In May 2021 we created a 30-day walking challenge for staff to count the number of days they were active. All staff were sent a sheet where they could keep track of their daily activities and ideas were sent to encourage staff to be more physically active.
We still have a lot planned for this year, so keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates on the wellbeing programme.
Staff wellbeing also covers more than mental and physical health, and two aspects we have focused on in 2020 and 2021 are safety and financial wellbeing. In March 2021, Happy Futures moved away from hourly rates and introduced a salaried system for more financial stability and clarity. All employees are paid above the National Living Wage as we value our staff and wanted to show our appreciation, especially during the challenges we faced due to COVID-19. Information on budgeting and financial wellbeing were also made available to staff. Safety is another important aspect of wellbeing and in order to ensure our employees’ safety both at work and outside, we provided everyone with a self-defence alarm and emergency number card, as well as a credit card theft blocker.
I am Minette, the Happy Futures Human Resources Manager.
After completing a BA degree in Behavioural Sciences and then a BA Honours degree in Labour Relations in 2015, I started my career as an HR Officer at a leading human rights organisation in early 2016. After taking a break from my career and completing a Master’s degree in Business and Management from the University of Suffolk, I joined the Happy Futures team in January 2020 as the Human Resources Manager. As part of my role, my responsibilities include coordinating the recruitment process and implementing the onboarding process of the new starters, managing employee relations, logging all staff related matters and managing HR related projects, including wellbeing programmes and staff personal development portfolios. I am also involved in many administrative duties, including updating policies and procedures, keeping staff files up to date, completing return to work forms and amending HR related documents and processes. I am currently enrolled for a CIPD Level 7 Diploma in Human Resources Management.