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Guest blog: Time to Talk by Leek Building Society

Guest blog by Lizzie Hall, Head of HR at Leek Building Society

Guest blog by Lizzie Hall, Head of HR at Leek Building Society

Leek Building Society is a medium sized Society based in the Midlands, and a key part of our purpose is to make a positive difference to the lives of our staff and our local communities.

Our people are our greatest asset, and so having an unflinching focus on their safety, health and wellbeing is fundamental to the way we operate and the decisions we make. Staff have been through unprecedented times during the pandemic, which has quickly been followed by the cost of living crisis. All these external factors can take their toll on all of us, so we’ve provided a comprehensive range of support for our staff to safeguard their wellbeing.

Mental Wellbeing

Having someone you can talk to and share your feelings and worries with can make a big impact on maintaining and improving your mental wellbeing. We have mental health first aiders (MHFAs) across the Society who can be contacted confidentially if colleagues are struggling.

Mental Health First Aiders: Megan Arnold, Jayne Knowles, Gary Egan, Emma Bogdanski
Mental Health First Aiders: Megan Arnold, Jayne Knowles, Gary Egan, Emma Bogdanski

“As a mental health first aider, I feel very privileged to be able to offer support and advice to my colleagues, as well as signposting them to appropriate help where required. With increasing pressure on professional mental health services, openness and support within the workplace is so important; colleagues can access help at the time they feel vulnerable.” Emma Bogdanski, MHFA

We also use Togetherall’s digital mental health support platform which is available 24/7. The platform gives people the opportunity to speak anonymously in an online community and be supported by other users sharing experiences to uplift each other. Professionally trained clinicians are on hand to monitor the community and ensure everyone’s safety.

Physical and mental wellbeing can often be linked, so to demonstrate our deep commitment to wellbeing, we’ve funded Bupa health screenings for all staff. These health reviews give staff the opportunity to talk to a medical professional about their physical and mental health and receive recommendations for treatment and support.

Leaders from across the Society, including the CEO, have shared personal stories about how physical and mental health issues have affected them and their families, which has created an inclusive and open culture where people feel comfortable to share their own struggles.  

Financial Wellbeing

Financial worries can have a profound impact on mental health, so we’ve really focused on supporting financial wellbeing. We ended the year by providing staff with a cost of living salary increase and lump sum payment, to ease the pressure on staff with the rising cost of their bills.

We’ve enhanced a number of policies and benefits, such as family leave, occupational sick pay and our contributions to pensions so that our staff feel secure in their futures. This year we also introduced paid Grandparent Leave, to provide people with the opportunity to support their growing families, without having to worry about their finances.

One of the key worries at the start of the cost of living crisis, was the lack of savings people had. To encourage savings habits, we launched a workplace savings scheme where staff can save as much or as little as they like from their net pay.

Impact

At the end of 2022 we asked our staff whether the support we provided has been effective for them in supporting their wellbeing:

  • 97% felt the Society handled the cost-of-living crisis compassionately.
  • 92% felt the Society cares more about its staff than most organisations they know.
  • 95% would recommend the Society as an employer of choice to their friends and family.
  • 97% are proud to work for the Society.

We’re really proud of these results, and they clearly demonstrate that having a culture that focuses on mental, physical and financial support, can make a significant impact on staff’s wellbeing.

For more information visit: www.leekbs.co.uk


The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.