A focus on fostering good employee wellbeing within the building society sector

In the Autumn edition of Society Matters, we explored employee wellbeing from a variety of angles such as health (physical and mental), finance, lifestyle and good management and leadership. 

In the Autumn edition of Society Matters, we explored employee wellbeing from a variety of angles such as health (physical and mental), finance, lifestyle and good management and leadership. 

We are grateful to those member societies who shared details of their organisation’s employee wellbeing initiatives including financial support, menopause support and guidance, mental health awareness sessions and the provision of wellbeing hubs and calendar events. 

Also included were the results of a BSA survey on approaches to employee wellbeing within the sector.

The Covid pandemic presented unprecedented challenges and changes to the way that we work. Initially employers concentrated on homeworking, hybrid working and supporting good mental health. However, more recently we have significantly developed our approach to workplace health and wellbeing, with organisations adopting a holistic approach to their employees’ wellbeing, embedding it in its culture, leadership and people management. According to the BSA’s survey, 76% of participants have, or are considering having, a documented employee wellbeing strategy and have a dedicated budget to deliver it.

Fostering good staff wellbeing is good for both organisations and their employees. Promoting wellbeing is linked to a healthier and more inclusive culture and creates a positive working environment where employees and organisations thrive with higher levels of staff retention, engagement, satisfaction and productivity. A good employee wellbeing strategy will also attract more potential new recruits which, in a scarce employment market, is crucial.

In light of the cost-of-living crisis, managing financial wellbeing is understandably more frequently being included in wellbeing strategies although, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), it is still the least common area included in employee wellbeing strategies. There are many ways in which an organisation can support its employees’ financial wellbeing beyond just paying employees a fair salary. In addition to monetary incentives, initiatives can include signposting to sources ofreliable and impartial financial information and guidance, offering flexible benefits to give choice about total reward packages and providing opportunities to discuss money issues. 

The BSA’s wellbeing survey revealed that 76% of participants provide their employees with access to financial wellbeing advice and support and 81% are accredited to, or are considering being accredited to, the Real Living Wage Foundation. 81% also provided their employees with cost-of-living payments in 2022. Furthermore, 29% of participants already have a Workplace Savings Scheme in place with a further 14% currently considering the provision of a scheme. Interestingly, only 10% currently offer a Workplace Loan Scheme.

Employers can better understand the needs of their workforce through regular employee surveys and forums (including wellbeing hubs) which are non-costly endeavours that offer open and non-judgemental ways of communication. 

The use of Wellbeing Champions is also a great way to gauge feedback on what employees think about the wellbeing programme. According to the BSA’s survey, 67% of participants obtain feedback on their wellbeing initiatives annually, with 38% carrying out regular temperature check surveys. 

It’s important for employers to understand the needs of their own workforce – there is no one size fits all solution to wellbeing. An effective employee wellness strategy should be based on the unique needs and characteristics of the organisation and its workforce, and should be regularly and robustly reviewed to ensure that it remains fit for purpose. 

Four BSA members shared details of their work and initiatives to improve and foster employee wellbeing, you can find out more below:

Leek Building Society’s renewed focus on financial wellbeing

Leeds Building Society creating an open and supportive environment to help remove the stigma around the menopause

Saffron Building Society’s wellbeing initiative enabling employees to feel heard, supported and safe at work.

West Brom Building Society shining a spotlight on all aspects of employee wellbeing.