Wellbeing is so important at the moment, and our thanks to our friends at Moore Kingston Smith for sharing this article and their perspective as to how the firm’s wellbeing strategy has been of benefit.
Our wellbeing journey has its roots with our charity partner, Mind. Chosen by our staff in December 2017, Mind brought the issue of mental health to the fore at Moore Kingston Smith. Health for our people is not just about their physical health – their mental health is equally as important.
People are at the heart of who we are – service is what we do, so people are our strategic priority. It’s incumbent on us to provide an environment that actively promotes a state of wellbeing, benefitting both employees and the business. Through Moore Kingston Smith’s commitments and values, we look to support, retain and encourage our people to reach their fullest potential.
From the outset, I should stress that we are certainly not claiming to be ‘top of the tree’ when it comes to wellbeing. We are continually learning and adapting our strategy. Some things work, other ideas don’t seem to gel. We also face difficulties attaching a return on investment, or rather value on investment, on some wellbeing benefits. On the other side of the coin, the impact on an organisation of not having a wellbeing strategy in place will be potentially significant.
With no metrics on employee wellbeing, absence is not transparent. Stress, anxiety and depression are unnoticed and recruitment and retention are inevitably affected – not forgetting productivity. Now more than ever in the Coronavirus era, a wellbeing strategy is key to supporting our teams.
Throughout Coronavirus, we have run staff surveys to get a handle on how they are feeling and what we can do to improve their social interaction in these times. Responses suggest that our wellbeing strategy and initiatives have a positive impact.
Our wellbeing strategy includes a detailed information hub on our intranet, a comprehensive employee assistance programme, webinars, yoga and mindfulness classes, trained mental health first aiders, physical exercise and diet guidance as well as flexible and agile working opportunities.
Earlier this year, we were awarded silver in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index, having been awarded bronze last year. These awards helped give our wellbeing strategy credibility across the firm and the wider business community. We learnt how and where to improve and establish new goals.
Our surveys show that our staff recognise the leadership team’s genuine desire to engage on mental health and wellbeing. It lays the basis for happiness, engagement and productivity which, in turn, has a strong impact on staff retention.
Over the last three years, even with staff numbers increasing, we have seen a significant reduction in sickness absence. Interestingly, reported absence due to mental health issues has increased. Staff feel more open to disclosing the real underlying reasons for absence. This is a positive that we as a firm can focus on even more going forward.
We at Moore Kingston Smith are on a journey towards a better way of working, where supporting the mental and physical health of our people is part of everyday business.
Paul Samrah, Partner, Moore Kingston Smith LLP and Chair MKS Wellbeing Group.