There are probably very few Group Heads of Occupational Health and Wellbeing who began their careers as personal trainers and probably fewer still who did so after enduring seven painful leg surgeries to regain their mobility after a serious injury at university. So when Judith Grant from Royal Mail Group talks about her passion for promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace, it’s from a point of deep understanding and personal experience.
Setting the Scene
When Judith joined Royal Mail Group, wellbeing had not long been integrated into the SHE (Safety, Health, and Environment) structure. While there were areas of good practice in the business and programmes in place; the approach was inconsistent and programmes under utilised.
Creating a brand for wellbeing
This presented Judith with an opportunity to learn from and develop the existing programmes, harness the enthusiasm of the pockets of good practice and create a brand identity and a new strategy for wellbeing within the overall SHE framework.
Judith inherited a wellbeing website with the name Feeling First Class, so used this as a platform from which to develop new programme strands: First Class Support, First Class Fitness, First Class Mental Health and First Class Lifestyle. Each had a communications campaign to raise awareness amongst employees.
Achieving Rapid Safety Impact
Making the connections
It was clear to Judith that to gain business support and buy-in for the Feeling First Class wellbeing programme, the worsening attendance trend in the business needed to be addressed to gain Board confidence.
An Attendance Management Plan was created, and Taskforce put together to develop attendance support for managers and design occupational health interventions to address the top absence causes.A greater focus was placed on proactive and preventative wellbeing with a specific focus on mental wellbeing.
Judith’s First Class Mental Health programme, a first for the business, was a key part of the approach. The plan was to create a 'buzz' about the wellbeing programmes - with the workshops, stakeholder engagement and communications across the business delivered through different media to create a common language.
The team focused on anti-stigma communications, signed the Time to Change Pledge and created bespoke awareness films with the Mental Health Foundation.Judith also took the message out to the business by developing and delivering a series of Wellbeing Workshops.
Creating a Lasting Legacy
First class results
Judith’s wellbeing plan has already paid dividends contributing to improvements in sickness absence, especially in long term cases. Doubling membership of the Feeling First Class website to 12,500 members and ensuring 4,500 managers have completed the Mental Health video training.
The percentage of employees agreeing with the statement, “my organisation cares about my wellbeing” in the annual employee survey also increased from 50 percent in 2013/14 to 56 percent in 2015/16.
Advice for Creating Positive Impact
“Be patient. I joined the business full of enthusiasm and ideas and found it frustrating when my ideas were pushed back or delayed. I soon learnt that I had to develop my language of wellbeing and translate it into the language of the business.
By spending time in offices all over the Royal Mail with different teams and departments I learnt to speak the language and slowly introduced people to some of mine. By understanding the different frames of reference my colleagues have across the business, adjusting my language accordingly and meeting with people up and down the country my patience is starting to see results.”
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