Sara Silvonen, Consultant and Wellbeing Specialist
Amidst the rush to improve customer experience and business productivity, the UK workforce is facing certain key challenges today. High job demands and performance pressures are constant stressors for employees adversely affecting their work-life balance and general wellbeing. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK’s national regulator for workplace health and safety, found in their annual work-related stress statistics that stress, depression, and anxiety accounted for 44% of work-related ill health cases and 54% of all working days lost due to ill health in 2018-19. Workplace stress also contributes to increased absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover, which hugely impact employee productivity and retention. These factors demonstrate the need for organisations to work towards a sustainable culture of wellbeing, where employees are more engaged, productive, and committed. Organisations that embrace strategies to improve employee wellbeing tend to experience higher individual job satisfaction, increased retention, and improved workforce productivity.
Helping organisations nurture a high performing wellbeing culture is London-based workplace survey and recognition provider Great Place to Work® UK (GPTW UK). Part of a global organisation, with the UK branch founded in 2001, GPTW UK offers an Excellence in Wellbeing accreditation programme. This programme helps employers to proactively devise a robust wellbeing strategy by analyzing employees’ current wellbeing experience and identifying the workplace challenges faced. Furthermore, the Excellence in Wellbeing programme provides leading organisations with official recognition, helping to strengthen their employer branding and attract more talent—particularly millennials who consider quality of life as a key priority over other factors such as income. “We apply data and insights from organisations across the world to support employers in continuously improving the employee experience and sustaining business performance,” says Sara Silvonen, Consultant and Wellbeing Specialist.
GPTW UK believes that employee wellbeing broadly encompasses the experiences within an employee’s working life. The company utilises a model that takes a holistic view of employee wellbeing, breaking the concept into six key dimensions—work environment, mental and physical health, financial security, interpersonal relationships, worklife balance, and fulfilment. These distinct yet strongly interconnected dimensions act as pillars at the foundation for employee wellbeing. Sara Silvonen explains: “Risks to any of the dimensions can affect the entire mechanism and in turn tamper the wellbeing of individuals.” Organisations that take part in the Excellence in Wellbeing programme, are administered a Wellbeing Index employee survey by a dedicated project manager. The Wellbeing Index consists of 17 statements which are averaged to form a total index score and an open-ended question.
Based on the survey, a wellbeing report is prepared that includes overall results, an executive summary, and a demographic comparison, that assesses the level of consistency across different workforce groups.
We apply data and insights from organisations across the world to support employers in continuously improving employee experience and sustaining business performance
The report also includes best practices from top organisations providing insights that can be integrated into the client’s wellbeing strategy. Over a 30-minute consultative call, priority areas are recommended to help clients target and plan interventions accordingly.
If the index score is above the minimum threshold for the organisation’s size category, the employer is recognised as a centre for Excellence in Wellbeing. They will then receive a certificate and Excellence in Wellbeing recognition logo valid for 12 months. GPTW UK also celebrates an organisation’s success by promoting the client through social media channels. If the score is below the threshold, GPTW UK can assist clients further with additional options such as an extended wellbeing report with deeper datadriven insights including HR metrics analysis, employee profiling, and comments analysis. Furthermore, GPTW UK can conduct a wellbeing workshop for key groups of individuals to understand the concept more deeply, plan actions and learn best practices. “We provide an opportunity to upskill, enabling them to measure wellbeing and build a robust strategy. This is what we call a journey towards a culture of wellbeing,” states Sara.
What makes GPTW UK stand out from its competitors is its approach of people centricity. The company provides personalised insights for each client, ensuring the strategy adopted is aligned with the client’s workplace culture. “We listen to how employees feel about their workplace and create a strategy that can resonate with them,” emphasises Sara.
GPTW strives to cultivate a close-knit relationship with clients and ensures the utmost efficiency and care. They provide an account and project manager to assist clients through the processes, data, and results. “We also celebrate our client’s achievements together with them and give our best help because we genuinely care and want our clients to succeed,” remarks Sara. This has earned GPTW UK an opportunity to work with top clientele, including Salesforce, Cisco, Hilton, Flight Centre, Gap, Deloitte, Workday, Adobe, Lindt, and Adecco.
Illustrating the dedicated interventions of GPTW UK for its clients, Sara highlights an instance where the company helped one of its larger clients, a college in the UK, to progress their wellbeing agenda. The client’s Wellbeing Index results were particularly low in areas such as financial wellbeing, jobstress, and work-life balance. Fuelled by the results, the college set up an internal steering committee, a diverse and representative group of wellbeing champions from across the organisation. GPTW UK then conducted a half-day workshop for the steering committee, demonstrating the importance of wellbeing through their model’s holistic framework, and facilitating action planning around their wellbeing strategy based on prioritised focus areas. “We had a refreshing, honest, and inspiring session. From the post-session questionnaire, there were already improvements,” Sara comments.
With new plans to evolve their surveys by incorporating current employee trends and introducing a Great Place to Work-Certified™programme, GPTW UK continues to be seen as a rigorous and prestigious standard for employer recognition. “A genuine wellbeing culture has to be strategically built and carefully nurtured over time - after all, culture is your way of going about things. Ultimately, we strive to help organisations become a ‘great place to work for all,” concludes Sara.