Ewen MacPherson: Health and wellbeing during organisational change

Ewen MacPherson

For many organisations, wellbeing has just become a focus point, as the social movement around the topic gathers momentum. For Havas Media, however, health and wellbeing have been long-term strategic objectives for some time, under the guiding lens of the overall employee experience.

It is widely accepted that most employees spend a third of their lives at work, and recent headlines continue to argue that the responsibility to help them remain healthy rests with their employers. This is not a new point for debate, but it was this idea of a preventative approach that first sparked the strategic conversation about health and wellbeing at Havas Media.

The organisation experienced a period of significant change fromĀ quarter two in 2016; this featuredĀ key movements in high-profile leadership positions, large-scale reorganisation and a move to a new office location, with more than 20 agencies and 1,800 people all under one roof for the first time. This period of change culminated in an entirely new vision for the agency, now under new leadership.

In the context of this transition, the organisation knew that it would increasingly be asking more of its employees. In light of this, Havas Media partnered with Push Mind and Body inĀ November 2016, in addition to nominatingĀ wellbeing champions within the business.

With Push Mind and Body, we stroveĀ to co-create a solution which would provide a holistic, preventative platform to support employees. This focused on building resilience and maintaining energy, supporting the new vision for the business and helping to foster collaboration, all the while ensuring that operations and output remained stable as the team settled into the new Havas Media.

With the programme now in its third year, there are clear signals that this investment has had a positive impact on retention; over this time, the organisation has seen substantially lower attrition rates for employees who have interacted with the programme (4.6%) versus employees who have not (35%). There has also been a reduction in sickness absence in the same population.

Finally, anecdotal feedback also points to its success, with employees regularly highlighting the offering as a favourite mainstay; one senior employee has even gone so far as to refer to it as the greatest single piece of personal development they have ever experienced.

That is a return-on-investment this organisation will take.

Ewen MacPherson is people director at Havas Media