In the hustle and bustle of the modern day workplace, how can you ensure your organisation puts the health of your employees on top of the priority list? Jo Lloyd, HR director at Arco, the protective equipment company, discusses their award-winning wellbeing philosophy and offers top tips on how to strengthen your own.
What are your responsibilities as the HR director?
I have ultimate responsibility for all the people within our company, from an operational and strategic perspective. I’m also a member of the leadership team and work closely with the joint managing directors and my management colleagues to deliver an effective HR service to support our business strategy.
Your National Distribution Centre has just won Bronze status in the Healthy Workplace Awards. What initiatives contributed to winning?
We were really pleased to receive the award, especially since it was wholly driven by the hard work, determination and enthusiasm of our employees. We were asked to provide evidence of consistent long-term healthy workplace commitment, including documentation and photographs of events and health promotions held on site.
Our recent incentives included: daily health tips, fruit and smoothies available to all employees, and the introduction of support groups for those who wish to stop smoking. Eight NDC employees also volunteered to become health champions and underwent additional health and wellbeing training.
Why is the health and wellbeing of employees important to Arco?
As experts in safety, we offer products and services designed to improve health and safety within the workplace. It’s paramount then that the health, safety and wellbeing of our own employees is also a number one priority.
We pride ourselves on being a health conscious employer and our efforts go beyond tackling sickness absence. We’re committed to people through improved staff engagement and open communication channels; all of which contribute to a healthier, happier workforce.
We have a programme of continuous investment in our people and entered the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for survey in 2013, retaining our One-to-Watch status. Plans are in place to further improve levels of engagement within the business and Arco remains committed to being an employer of choice.
How do you enhance the health of your staff day-to-day?
Health tips are made available on a daily basis to all employees and smoking cessation information stands have been put up around the workplace. We also have several notice boards where we display upcoming activities, suggest further incentives and where feedback can be posted.
How has a commitment to wellbeing affected employee engagement?
The health drive has been completely employee driven and staff have shown a real commitment to engaging with the initiatives we have put in place. We recently ran a ‘Health Week’ where we challenged staff to virtually walk to our office in China and create smoothies at the same time through using power generated by cycling. Numerous employees attempted the challenge and the positive feedback received was phenomenal.
Our employees know that by committing to creating a healthy workplace, we have also demonstrated a clear commitment to their health and future. I believe that this caring working environment has significantly heightened employee satisfaction and productivity.
How do you measure the success of your initiatives?
Obviously, we don’t have weekly weigh-ins, fitness tests or smoker’s polls, so it’s hard to measure the success of our efforts. However, we’ve noticed that employees are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits to a healthy lifestyle and are keen to sign up to the initiatives – especially the competitive challenges. We hope to continue providing healthy options and advice to workers, as well as taking on feedback and new ideas for the future.
As issues of health and wellbeing are different for each person, how do you choose which areas to focus on?
We have previously focused on supporting those who wish to quit smoking, get active and eat healthy as these were broad topics that a lot of our staff could relate to. Through the use of the notice boards and communicating with employees, we hope to target additional issues in the future.
What health and wellbeing programmes have been most successful?
Health Week is a great opportunity to engage all sites across the UK and in our China office. The mix of activities, information and fun always gets great results.
Now that you’ve won an award for your wellbeing schemes, how will you continue to excel in this area?
One way to excel is to show our employees that we’re committed to health and wellbeing on a long-term basis. By asking for feedback and ideas, we’re putting our people at the centre of our programmes, which will hopefully mean our initiatives are a success.
What are your top tips for other organisations that are looking to create their own wellbeing programmes?
By communicating and involving your employees and understanding their needs, you can devise programmes that will get immediate support and begin to adapt your working procedures. I believe that by simply listening, supporting and motivating employees, the company will ultimately gain a workforce that is happy, productive and dedicated – a win-win situation for both parties.
Arco is a family-owned business turning 130 years old this year, and is the UK’s leading supplier of personal protective equipment, workwear and workplace safety products. Our mission is to keep people safe at work and our values are more than just statements; they define our reasons for being in business and what it means to be part of our extensive Arco family. Arco was the first distributor in our industry to become a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).