This time, we talk to Ian Hodson, Head of Reward/Deputy Director of Human Resources at the University of Lincoln, who were named one of the UK’s top 20 universities by The Guardian’s University Guide 2020.
Tell us about the importance of workplace wellbeing to the success of your business?
Promoting and supporting a culture of wellbeing in our workplace is a crucial part of us achieving our dynamic engaged people plan.
Ultimately, we are trying to ensure that our workforce are motivated, following our belief that if individuals are motivated they will be engaged and if they are engaged we can achieve our aims.
We are more conscious than ever over the impact wellbeing has on employee motivation, therefore it is more than just a cosmetic aspect of workforces now and an essential aspect to implement.
We have five different focuses to wellbeing in our workforce, being physical, mental, financial, social and environmental and alongside each we have an education programme and proactive and reactive enablers to support them and for individuals to engage with.
What particular initiatives do you have in place?
We have lots going on supporting the different wellbeing agendas, from the usual cycle schemes, mental health support and financial education to more innovative and bespoke activities such as laughter yoga, short-term loans, debt consolidation support and our community garden.
We are always keen to keep wellbeing fresh, so we run one-off activities such as offering massages in the workplace or bringing in an external speaker to deliver their knowledge and experience.
All of our wellbeing activities are complemented by our online support portal, where we have specific guidance on all aspects of the benefit package. We encourage our employees to take part in ‘layering-up’ their learning.
How have they impacted the business?
I think we really have started to change the culture of our organisation and this is not only through the people, but also in the design of our physical workplace and how we deliver our activities.
We encourage staff to support each other and we now have embedded social sports teams that are run and self-supported by colleagues and perhaps more importantly, an educated workforce who can make more informed decisions on all aspects of their wellbeing.
We have some wonderful stories to tell, for instance, through offering health screening, we have genuinely changed individuals’ lives and that develops a real bond and motivation between the employer and employee. Success stories like that really suggest that underneath everything, we are simply a collection of people all looking to achieve a shared agenda together as one community.
What would you like to improve on or implement in the future?
I think the physical landscape is always an exciting and evolving scene, in terms of how you can embrace wellbeing through working spaces, equipment and the design of space for both work and recreation. I always love to see physical equipment incorporated into the work environment as it symbolically promotes physical wellbeing and almost endorses this organisationally.
I would also like to see more colleagues take ownership of leading on initiatives, as this is how we can make them more sustainable for the long-term. We are very aware of how important a culture of wellbeing is to those entering the workforce.
What is the number one principle of human resources/workplace wellbeing that you'd pass on to a younger HR manager?
Wellbeing can’t be part of an organisational checklist and has to become embedded in the workplace culture and this can only be achieved through projects being embraced and led by the employees themselves.