Suzanne Hughes: Embedding wellbeing and engagement in the workplace

EXCLUSIVE: As a major employer in the UK, understanding levels of employee engagement and wellbeing at Santander is critical. It’s well known that better engaged people are happier people, and the bonus is that the research tells us happier people are more productive too.

To help us continue to track and improve employee engagement and wellbeing at Santander, we have signed up to Business in the Community’s (BITC) Workwell benchmark, which measures how organisations are publically reporting employee engagement and wellbeing.

Taking part allows us to track how we’re improving year on year and how we match up to competitors. It also gives confidence to investors that an organisation is well run.

Public reporting of employee engagement and wellbeing can feel quite uncomfortable when it’s not standard industry practice. However, by disclosing this data, progressive employers can help to show the impact of health, wellbeing and engagement programmes. Once reporting becomes standard, you can start measuring the trends of these types of initiatives and how you are evolving as an organisation.

The results of the benchmark become a very insightful tool to support the senior team to identify where improvements around employee engagement and wellbeing can be made.

We know that good psychological wellbeing and providing adequate support for employees who are experiencing mental health issues are vital in the workplace. By publically reporting this data and developing initiatives that respond to employee needs, it helps to de-stigmatise mental health as an issue in the workplace and encourages employees to seek help before longer-term conditions develop.

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It’s about embedding a work culture where saying you are experiencing a mental health problem is just as easily accepted as saying you’ve broken your leg. Public reporting can only help to raise standards. It allows progressive employers to identify their strengths and weaknesses and provides a business case to help business leaders prioritise, make changes and improve.

– Suzanne Hughes is learning and development director at Santander