Gardner Leader uses wellbeing committee and flexible working to ensure inclusivity

Gardner Leader inclusiveAn inclusive health and wellbeing strategy is key for law firm Gardner Leader to be able to continue to maintain and protect its ethos for its 175-plus-strong workforce.

The business, which has offices in Swindon, Newbury, Thatcham, Maidenhead, Windsor, Oxford and London, has a committed and active wellbeing committee comprising fully trained wellbeing officers, a menopause champion to offer support to affected staff, a mentoring programme through which a specially trained mentor is available to every member of staff and an active corporate social responsibility group, providing paid volunteer days.

It also offers hybrid working, ensuring that, where possible, everyone can work from home or in the office supported by its technology team, and flexible leave that allows personal control over annual leave.

The organisation is aware that it has a responsibility to look after employees, but most importantly it wants staff to be happy and fulfilled, and have the right balance of work and home, says Niamh Minihane, wellbeing officer and partner in Gardner Leader’s inheritance protection team.

“We pride ourselves on our staff retention and we have a strong community spirit that we are extremely protective of,” she says. “We have a varied programme of social activities, which more recently have been conducted around our own house system to encourage inter-house competitions and collaborations, such as sports days, bake offs and quizzes. This is important to us as a firm and we all enjoy a day each year where each team comes together and enjoys a day of collaboration.”

Gardner Leader gauges employees’ views from an anonymous staff survey, which is a safe platform for them to voice their needs. It has a plus 70 employee net promoter score, which measures how likely employees are to recommend an employer and has remained at this level throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The organisation ensures that it maintains inclusivity despite knowing that not everyone will take up its incentives or utilise the elements of wellbeing it offers, and considers it important to be aware that it will not always reach everyone. By leading by example and sharing feelings and experiences of mental illness from the top, it hopes to demonstrate that senior leadership staff are human and they do care.

“As a wellbeing officer, I am lucky to meet each new employee at the very start of their career with Gardner Leader and explain to them my role and our wellbeing strategy, so they have the knowledge of what we do and the confidence to know that my door is always open,” Minihane concludes.