The Culture Pioneer 2022 Wellbeing finalists have been announced, and so it is time to check out the accomplishments of the four finalists and what got them those prized top slots.
Each of the four Wellbeing finalists demonstrated implacable commitment to their organisation’s wellbeing strategy. They creatively used whatever resources and means were at their disposal to continually address the collective and individual wellbeing of all of their employees with empathetic determination and consistency.
With a small team of just 15, business management consultancy Enfuse Group is led by Head of People Lianne Baker, spearheading comprehensive wellbeing initiatives and inclusion policies.
A considered scope of important issues are carefully supported by Enfuse, such as IVF and fertility, pain and fatigue, menopause, domestic abuse, substance abuse, divorce, baby loss and cancer rehabilitation.
All employees at Enfuse Group are given £40 a month to use in any way for their own wellbeing, and all employees are assigned a Career Manager to provide career guidance, support wellbeing and keep an eye out for signs of burnout, emotional distress and other wellbeing issues. Any difficulties pinpointed are tackled immediately with extra support available.
Employees are also included in the shaping and changing of policies. Two members suffering with chronic illnesses were able to shape the policies they needed to provide the right level of support to manage their symptoms and to work symbiotically with them.
Enfuse Group’s honest and open culture means that leaders are the first to speak out, set examples and remove stigmas. Directors lead by example and loudly declare when they aren't feeling good or need time out so that everyone knows they can do this too. They speak up when they are picking up their children, doing exercise during the day or putting family first, demonstrating that a healthy work-life balance is encouraged.
This small organisation pays attention to the personal and professional lives of its employees, and for subtle changes in employee behaviour. Discreet messages such as “you seemed a bit quiet on the stand up, are you ok?” are considered the norm to check in with individuals between meetings and catch ups.
In seven years of business, only two employees have left Enfuse Group – both for relocation.
"Enfuse has very much been led from the top with the founders seeking new ways to improve things and being vocal about why they want these changes to happen. It is important that leaders are the first to remind people to take care."
Karen Liebenguth – Culture Pioneers judge, Co-founder of the Ethical Leadership Programme and accredited mindfulness expert.
Nine Feet Tall
Management consultancy Nine Feet Tall is a values-led non-hierarchical SME with a team of 30, specialising in delivering complex change.
Led by its wellbeing programme, HAY (How Are You), Nine Feet Tall put a huge amount of effort and budget into creating a family environment and providing a consistently high level of support.
This small organisation took a highly authentic and proactive response to a recruitment churn caused by the pandemic, openly noting its downturn in morale and team cohesion.
After identifying that its culture was suffering when its teams couldn’t be together in person, it set up a Culture Club where everyone could speak openly and freely about issues in the organisation, and then made collective changes based on these discussions.
Nine Feet Tall then changed its company values, organised group outings and increased its budgets to allow coffees and lunches to be expensed for social meetings.
Employee wellbeing is carefully monitored through trained mentors rather than line managers. Every employee has weekly check-ins with their mentor to see how they are feeling and to identify any risks to wellbeing. They are encouraged to go off-site and expense lunch once a month to build relationships outside of the office environment.
Nine Feet Tall provides a long list of initiatives and activities through HAY, including company-wide mental health awareness training, workplace wellbeing training for mentors, volunteer days, counselling and mental health treatment, and six days a year offsite and one overnight stay for social outings.
Over 4% of budgeted revenue is reinvested into wellness and L&D – matching its marketing budget. Nine Feet Tall now sees 95% of its staff reporting that they feel happy at work, compared with 62% in 2021.
“Nine Feet Tall took a commendably holistic approach to wellbeing, coupled with a conscious culture shift and a solid level of awareness.”
Valentina Hynes – Culture Pioneers judge, and mental health and wellbeing expert.
Launched in 2016, Progeny is the only UK firm to cover independent financial planning, asset management, tax, HR and private and corporate legal services.
To support its rapid growth, CEO Neil Moles set out with People Specialist Lauren Mawson to make a positive impact on both team members and clients. Progeny placed its people at its core, embedding wellbeing into all aspects of the business.
Wellbeing Champions facilitate company-wide wellbeing activities and initiatives, engage proactively with team members across the business, capture the employee voice and ensure the support Progeny offers reflects wellbeing needs.
Progeny’s leading EAP provides a 24/7/365 confidential helpline, counselling sessions and critical incident and trauma support – and new Leave of Absence Guidance provides team members extra time off work when needed. In addition to a tailored wellbeing policy, paid annual wellbeing day and dedicated intranet, Progeny held a week-long wellbeing festival for employees, including therapy dogs, coaching, pensions education and a GP session.
A welfare grant was also set up for team members in need of financial support and the business also provides private medical insurance.
Welcoming feedback from the wellbeing festival secured an enhanced wellbeing budget for 2022, increasing holiday allowance to 30 days a year for all team members and adding a paid volunteering day.
Independent feedback and an engagement survey via Best Companies rated Progeny ‘Outstanding’ as a company in the 2* category. 80% of team members felt a strong sense of family in their team and 83% said that their team is fun to work with.
“Progeny has made its wellbeing strategy a long-term investment and not just a response to the pandemic. It has demonstrated a commitment to more time away from work for those who need it, and as a result has maintained low turnover and absence while other organisations have struggled. It’s great to see they are reaping the financial rewards of putting their people first.”
Gethin Nadin, Culture Pioneers judge and award-winning psychologist.
Education Development Trust
Education Development Trust (EDT) is an international not-for-profit organisation working to improve education outcomes around the world.
Staff morale and wellbeing is one of its eight strategic priorities and has the full backing of the leadership team and board of trustees.
As a not-for-profit, finding ways to make this happen with limited budget and resource required a lot of creativity and determination.
With a broad geographical spread of colleagues, it had to work closely with its sub-Saharan operating locations where mental health is still considered taboo to provide wellbeing education and clear messaging on its importance and value.
Following a comprehensive wellbeing review, EDT decided to use the Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment (PERMA) framework to meet its objective. This renowned evidence-based approach focuses on helping people thrive at work. The team received approval from leadership and began rolling out a PERMA++ (plus Financial and Physical) approach in early 2021.
This led to numerous changes, such as doubling mental health first aiders, changing EAP provider and providing mindful working education and mindfulness sessions. The business now also offers learning for all employees, including the training of line managers to support their team’s wellbeing and financial wellbeing.
Following an increase in staff requesting Workplace Adjustment Plans, EDT worked on supporting disability, long-term ill health and neurodiversity, adding over 12 Workplace Adjustment Plans to support affected employees.
Staff health and wellbeing was then added as a strategic objective to its corporate strategy and as a standing agenda item in leadership and board meetings. All executive leaders participate in the safeguarding committee, supporting and overseeing the global safeguarding work and monitoring its impact.
Leading wellbeing app Headspace was also rolled out to all staff and has seen nearly 22,000 hours of meditation in the space of a year.
"I love that wellbeing is a clear board strategic priority for EDT, and that they carefully follow an evidence-based approach. It’s also great to see the renowned PERMA model being used as a key framework. An impressive structure using successful best practice as a guide"
Gethin Nadin, Culture Pioneers judge and award-winning psychologist.
Explore the inspirational stories of Culture Pioneer finalists from the Learning, Inclusion and Brand categories here.