EXCLUSIVE: TSB takes a proactive approach to employee wellbeing and mental health

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Employee Benefits Insights 2021: TSB’s approach to employee wellbeing follows a cycle of support, which includes building resilience and raising awareness of mental health.

In a virtual session entitled Building resilient teams – a whole-person, whole-organisation approach, sponsored by Unmind, Sarah McPake, head of talent, insights and inclusion at TSB (pictured), detailed how the organisation uses a mix of proactive and reactive measures to support wellbeing. This includes increasing understanding of wellbeing, acting early, making sure the organisation provides access to the right support and services, and helping employees to recover and return to work.

The model is used for all areas of wellbeing: physical, psychological, social and financial. The strategy emphasises the importance of empowering colleagues, explained McPake. “Wellbeing can’t be ‘done to’ people; we all know that it is very personal and it’s about making sure that everyone knows what is available to them, and that they feel able and supported to access it.”

The support of line managers is key in TSB’s wellbeing strategy; the curriculum for line manager training starts with a module on wellbeing and it also includes a focus on mental health awareness.

Outside of line manager training, the mental health approach that TSB has in place centres around three pillars: to open up conversations; to build confidence and remove stigma; and to develop healthy habits. McPake explained that the pillars were first developed in 2017 in response to employee feedback asking for more support specifically around mental health.

TSB was quick to adapt its wellbeing strategy when the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) led to the UK lockdown in March 2020. “The key thing in adapting was listening to our colleagues,” said McPake. “What people told us very quickly was that wellbeing is personal, and what they wanted was for TSB to support them in a way that worked for them, so that they could pick and choose, access what they needed, and felt comfortable and supported.”

To support employees’ wellbeing during the pandemic, TSB made sure employees were aware of and had access to open lines of communication, its employee assistance programme (EAP), information tools and webinars, and also gave them access, via their mobile phones, to the mental health support app Unmind.

McPake explained TSB’s whole-person, whole-organisation approach to resilience follows the mindset that it is about learning and growing; resilience is not a synonym for stamina, a stress management tool and not a sticky plaster for burnout, she added. Rather than using resilience training, TSB works with its employees to ensure that they have the skills and resources to do their jobs at the moment, as well as being prepared for the future. “Resilience isn’t about programmes or training, but having an approach that is proactive and relevant to the organisation,” said McPake.

The full agenda for the week-long Employee Benefits Insights Series can be found here. All sessions will be made available on-demand once the series has finished for those who cannot attend the real-time slots.

Participants can register right up until the event starts and can attend as many sessions as they desire.