Author Profile Picture

Becky Norman


Managing Editor

Read more about Becky Norman

Meet the finalists for the Culture Pioneer of Wellbeing Award

We are delighted to announce the finalists for the Culture Pioneer of Wellbeing Award and share their inspirational stories.

Our judges were truly blown away with the quality of entries submitted for the Wellbeing category of our Culture Pioneers Awards. It’s clear that so many organisations have been putting employee wellbeing front and centre of their efforts across the past 18 months – and rightly so given the climate. 

But what really stood out among our final shortlist was their dedication to employee feedback to deliver an inclusive wellbeing approach that enabled all employees to thrive.

Below is a small taster of what our five finalists for the Wellbeing category have achieved to make the judge’s shortlist (in no particular order)! We’ll be announcing the winner at our virtual awards night on 18th November, so please do join us for an evening of storytelling and celebration.

Do also let us know which stories inspired you, or which reflect your own initiatives or future plans on our social media feeds using the hashtag #CulturePioneers.

Kelly Perry, Awin 

As a global affiliate marketing network with 15 offices worldwide, and over 1,000 employees, Awin understands the importance of facilitating connections, creating a sense of community and offering flexibility to support a culture of wellbeing.

Senior HR business partner Kelly Perry has been a key player in safeguarding employee wellbeing and improving work/life balance. Kelly and her team spent months listening to employees and gathering feedback to help inform their wellbeing strategy – and these insights led to the launch of a 4-day work week (4DW) with no reduction in salary or holiday allowance. “This enabled employees to benefit further from increased flexibility, while Awin, and its partners, benefitted from better productivity,” says Kelly.

Alongside the 4DW roll out, Awin has launched a Global Wellness Programme to enable staff to access resources to support their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. The company has also introduced the Persons of Trust Network, an internal voluntary support network for victims of harassment or discrimination, and provided employees with a diverse range of training sessions from their 36 company-wide accredited Mental Health Coaches.

Our Culture Pioneers judges were particularly impressed with how committed Awin was to basing their decisions on employee feedback:

“Awin Global’s progressive and data-led approach to wellbeing is very impressive and one that many organisations can learn from,” says Judge Gethin Nadin.

Munpreet Cheema, Atos IT Services

As a global leader in digital transformation with 11,0000 employees, Atos IT Services understands that putting people first is what creates technological excellence.  

Munpreet Cheema, Culture & Employee Experience Lead for Northern Europe at Atos, has played a fundamental role in developing its best-in-class employee experience (EX) programme – ‘We are Atos’ – to help drive a culture of wellbeing and inclusion.

For Munpreet, EX is all about community building: “How we support every individual at Atos – in the spirit of togetherness – is what truly makes Atos a great and exciting place to work. We recognise that connection is an important part of wellbeing and encourage colleagues to develop and deepen relationships in the organisation.” 

Alongside Atos’ pre-pandemic wealth of wellbeing support – including access to counselling, CBT, financial & legal advice and private online GP appointments (to name a few), the organisation truly ramped up support when Covid-19 arrived.

As well as providing a range of wellbeing webinars and a digital hub of wellbeing resources, the team has provided multiple virtual kids camps to support working parents and organised virtual ‘expeditions’ to support social and physical wellbeing. Feedback from employees has been hugely positive, with 83% of employees stating they felt that their managers were available to listen and support them during lockdown.

“Atos’s efforts with social wellbeing, managing stress levels and linking inclusion to wellbeing are impressive. They truly understand that employee experience is the right focus when it comes to building wellbeing,” says Culture Pioneers Judge Natasha Wallace.

Kate Adney and the People & Organisational Development Team, Royal Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH)

As the main provider of district general hospital services for nearly half a million people in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales, SaTH has had the full weight of Covid-19 rest on its shoulders. But through developing its ‘Pathway from Pandemic’ strategy, the Trust implemented a comprehensive wellbeing offering that enabled colleagues to ‘reset, restore and renew’.

During a period where purse strings have been tightened, Kate Adney and the People & Organisational Development Team at SaTH successfully secured funding for a full time Wellbeing Lead to implement their Pathway from Pandemic.

This was a truly holistic approach that offered psychological support (including access to free face-to-face counselling), physical support (including a fast track physiotherapy service), healthy living support, and financial support (such as financial awareness and pre-retirement seminars).

The team also carry out wellbeing walks on hospital sites to check in with employees, while line managers get regular briefings to enable them to have better wellbeing conversations with their team members.

“As a result of these efforts, the Trust’s employee engagement rates are now at their highest ever, with over 2,000 staff engaging in our Trust Awards 2021,” says Kate Adney.

“Royal Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital Trust’s comprehensive approach to wellbeing has something for everyone. There was clearly a very strong commitment from this team to get the resources needed at an especially difficult time for the organisation.” says Culture Pioneers Judge Gethin Nadin.

Jessica Badley, Blood Cancer UK

Blood Cancer UK is not only on a mission to beat blood cancer within a generation, the charity also aspires to provide world-class wellbeing support for its people – and it is doing just that.

Since November 2019, Jessica Badley, Head of HR and OD, and the team have been running a culture change project that enables colleagues to speak up, take risks and fail fast, to help achieve their goal of beating blood cancer. Lying at the heart of this project has been a laser focus on improving employee wellbeing. “The objectives for our wellbeing strategy were to ensure that wellbeing became embedded into our organisation, rather than a ‘nice to have’ or an ‘add on’,” says Kate.

Like with most charities, Blood Cancer UK’s budget was small and the team had to get really creative to better support their people. The HR team created an evidence and best practice based wellbeing strategy, which they then took to various employee networks to feed back on and help refine. The outcome is a holistic strategy that is built upon four key strands

  1. Providing opportunities for senior leaders to talk about wellbeing and mental health often, to support culture change from the top

  2. Offering face-to-face virtual support for the team – and providing wellbeing training for line managers

  3. Providing dedicated resources which are easy to access

  4. Setting expectations right from the start, with candidates and new hires being made aware of the emphasis placed on wellbeing at the charity

“Blood Cancer UK is a great example of how to commit to employee wellbeing with limited resources and see huge impact. Their approach hasn’t just benefitted the charity, but society as a whole.” says Culture Pioneers Judge Gethin Nadin.

Linda Mountford and the HR team, John West

As a food importer working to maintain the grocery supply chain, John West has faced huge pressure to maintain business as usual while supporting the health and safety of their CREW (employees) during the pandemic.

For HR Director Linda Mountford and the people team at John West, employee listening was fundamental to steering their wellbeing strategy in the right direction: “Our response to the mental health challenges during the first lockdown was guided by a ‘bottom up’ approach, whereby we sought the feedback from our CREW, listened to their concerns and built a plan fit for purpose with the help of external expertise,” says Linda.

Acting on this feedback, the team introduced measures to boost the CREW’s work-life balance. This included giving every other Friday afternoon off to all CREW and discouraging phone calls during certain periods of the day to ensure regular breaks were taken.

The company also partnered with mental health and wellbeing support provider PUSH, to provide one-to-one mental health sessions as well as educational sessions on a range of wellbeing related issues. Indeed, learning and development plays a key role in the John West’s wellbeing support, with 25% of the company’s training budget being allocated to employee wellbeing.

“I am impressed with how John West has found creative ways to restore work life balance for their people.” says Culture Pioneers Judge Gethin Nadin.

Find out who made the shortlist for our other Culture Pioneers Awards categories here.

Author Profile Picture
Becky Norman

Managing Editor

Read more from Becky Norman

Get the latest from HRZone

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.