Tues 14 Nov 2023 11:00am UK time

“When it comes to wellbeing support in the workplace, it’s not enough to appoint wellbeing champions or Mental Health First Aiders and leave them to get on with it. You need an actual wellbeing strategy.”

In a post-Covid world, the importance of wellbeing has skyrocketed within the agency industry. Now more than ever, efforts to keep your team happy and safe are paramount for a lot of HR leaders. 

So, in this month’s HR & people mastermind, we’ll hear from three panellists on how they’re championing wellbeing in their agencies – without breaking the bank. 

First up: Michelle Thomas, chief people officer at Sopro.

Sopro approaches the topic of wellbeing by splitting it into four pillars:

  1. Mental
  2. Financial 
  3. Physical
  4. Social

On top of that, they also have ‘wellbeing champions’ within the company, who are trained to provide the right level of support to other team members whenever they may need it. 

“It’s about having a level of peer support, in addition to your line manager, if you’ve got something that’s concerning you,” she says.

However, Michelle says it’s key to ensure that the wellbeing champions are also psychologically safe.

“It’s important not to take someone else’s problems onto your own shoulders. It’s about being able to be there for support without it becoming a burden on you – and remembering to put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping others.”

Next up: Ffion Meijer, head of HR at Orchard Media

At Orchard, Ffion has created a ‘wellbeing hour’ for the team to take whenever they want, for whatever they want. The only rule is: they must take it.

“COVID had such an impact on us. Because people were working from home, they ended up working much longer hours, and home and work life were just getting really blurred,” she says. “So the wellbeing hour was born to try and encourage people to take a bit of time to do something for themselves.” 

“We wanted to do something where the team didn’t feel like they had to take time out of their personal life. And instead could have some time on us to try to focus on themselves – it’s so hard to focus on yourself when you’ve got all these other things going on.”

From there, the wellbeing support has only expanded, with the agency now offering things like mental health first aid training, free counselling, and an increased tolerance for mental health problems across the board. 

Last but not least: Jen Wlodyka, senior ops and culture manager at Distinctly.

Distinctly are quite ahead of the game when it comes to employee wellbeing, but Jen was constantly having to remind her team of all of the wonderful benefits they could be taking advantage of.

“We have core hours, private health insurance, and a generous amount of annual leave. But we felt like we could amplify some of this stuff a bit better. And that’s what wellbeing week gave us last October, as well as an opportunity to bring in a few extras to help educate our people on things like financial wellbeing.”

The wellbeing week made such a positive impact that the agency actually won an award for it. And because it was so successful, they’re extending it to a full month this year.

Come along to this session to hear real-life case studies of how other HR leaders are making this work on a budget and contribute your own ideas to the group. 

If you’re struggling with low morale and some unhappy team members, this is definitely worth coming along to.