The challenges of a major restructure, new ways of working and a move to a new office prompted Large London Media Agency to seek significant support from PUSH for its employees during exceptionally challenging times.
A single workplace change can be problematic for companies; for this company, the challenges were both multiple and simultaneous. There would be key movements in high profile leadership positions, large-scale reorganisation and redundancies, and fundamental changes to ways of working culminating in an entirely new vision under new leadership. On top of all that, they were also moving to a new office location with more than 20 other agencies and 1,800 people all under one roof for the first time.
A preventative approach to maximise available resources and enable efficiency while stabilising the business.
The Leadership team recognised they needed a support structure in place for employees. They also knew that following this period of transition there would be further challenging times ahead for the business.
They decided the way to do this was through a meaningful wellbeing intervention. The purpose was to provide a solution that would bolster the business for the changes ahead, provide support through these changes, and create a platform for stability coming out the other side.
PUSH started working with the People Team, creating a bespoke strategic wellbeing solution. The plan was to focus on the following three areas:
1. A preventative approach.
To provide a platform for support in anticipation of the impending changes, and not to react to the impact after the fact. To act proactively and ensure that support was deeply embedded in the business six months before changes began, giving sufficient time to allow employees to benefit from the offering well in advance.
2. Maximise available resources and enable efficiency.
Following the structural changes employees would be asked to do more with less resources due to the need (and ultimate outcome) to substantially reduce costs. The wellbeing strategy supported this by equipping employees with the tools to be resilient and ‘at their best’ to remain productive, while also creating opportunities for them to recharge to avoid burnout.
3. Stabilise the business.
Minimise any disruption that would be caused from high turnover following the period of change when resources were already going to be scarce, by stabilising the business through the above focus on productivity.
In order to co-create the programme alongside the Agency’s team, PUSH recruited Wellbeing Champions from within the business to act as the employee voice. These Champions were heavily involved in the design of the programme and relied upon as a barometer for employee engagement with it. They continue to help shape the programme on a quarterly basis to this day.
A Festival of Wellbeing…
PUSH then conducted a full internal audit alongside the People Team and Wellbeing Champions to fully research and understand the existing needs of all employees. This ensured their points of view were taken into consideration, as well as the wider strategic objectives.
The execution of the wellbeing was a grand event, launched to the business with huge fanfare. A ‘Festival of Wellbeing’ was hosted across the launch week, with daily sessions, talks and free giveaways. This was followed by delivery of the ongoing multi-discipline programme, spanning from the practical to the inspirational. To date PUSH have delivered 500+ unique wellness hours via the programme, including:
- Regular ‘Inspire Change Talks’ from leaders within the wellbeing industry, including Geoff McDonald and Ruby Wax, bringing people together while challenging traditional thinking and destigmatising mental ill-health.
- ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions with nutritionists to educate employees about healthy eating and maintaining energy levels.
- Weekly exercise classes to help employees maintain their physical wellbeing and a healthy work/life balance, while fostering cross-team bonding.
- 121 coaching and personal development sessions which help evolve self-awareness and enable personal planning.
- Fun creative sessions including art therapy and drawing to help develop culture and re-energise the team daily.
In January 2019, the Agency introduced the Wellness Lounge.
This sits within the heart of the building and is a dedicated place to anchor all wellbeing activity. It provides a technology-free ‘mental health sanctuary’ for employees so they can recharge during the day as and when needed. On Wednesdays, PUSH runs “Wellness Wednesdays” with guided meditation and mindfulness sessions hourly throughout the day.
For the Team, having the Wellness Lounge cements their commitment to the importance they place on employee wellbeing and puts this programme on the map.
In order to monitor the effectiveness of the programme, a specific measurement framework is in place to cover each of the strategic objectives of the programme:
- Take a preventative approach
Based on the number of interventions created, employees interacted with the programme 3,044 times. This level of take up resoundingly demonstrates engagement with the programme. Employees attended on average 3.6 wellness activities, reiterating engagement through repeat take up.
PUSH provided 500+ unique wellness hours throughout the programme, equivalent to running wellness sessions for 60 working days. Use of the Wellness Lounge also surpassed expectations with traffic monitoring showing between 60 and 120 visits per month.
Feedback has been resoundingly positive. One senior employee commented that the programme was “the best personal development event ever experienced in my career”.
- Maximise available resources and enable efficiency
One of the biggest measures of profitability and efficiency in the business is how employees spend their time. A snapshot of productivity based on the attribution of billable client time allowed them to use this as the baseline to measure the effectiveness of the programme.
The results were clear – employees that interacted with the programme showed a 20% increase year-on-year in billable client time which is equivalent to £1.4m in income that otherwise would have been ‘lost’ in non-billable admin activities. This positive shift, calculated at their average charge-out rate, suggests that employees were maximising available resources to be 20% more productive, despite a reduction in overall resource.
- Stabilise the business
After two years of relatively high turnover, reducing attrition in the face of widespread and hugely disruptive change was a key metric. The People Team also monitored employees to provide a sense-check against turnover data. They found that in 2019, 96.4% of employees that interacted with the programme have remained at the company.
Engagement survey metrics also show significant improvement to support this positive shift:
When asked the question “I am able to manage a reasonable balance between work and my personal life?”, employees scored 27% more favourably following implementation of the programme (80% vs 53%).
Overall employee engagement also improved significantly, gaining 25 percentage points (81% vs 56%).
Given workload had increased during this time and resources had decreased, this uplift can be attributed to the programme.
This programme is an ever-changing organism, adapting to the wants and needs of the employees and the business. In addition to continuing to grow the programme and draw more attention to the different wellness areas, the next step will be to elevate the profile of the programme within the business even further to reiterate its importance on the strategic agenda.
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“Working with the PUSH team for us has been a really great experience. When we first went out to market to find a health and wellbeing provider, it was really important for us to find somebody who could work in strategic partnership with us. So a part of that for me personally was really finding somebody that could provide a pragmatic solution rather than just ticking the boxes of a standard health and wellbeing programme. With PUSH we were really able to cocreate a programme with both them and our employee population which was exactly what we were looking for.” People Director - Large UK Media Agency