At Premium Credit, our aim is to provide a culture and environment that promotes and supports health and wellbeing for all our colleagues. We are committed to continually improving the quality of working lives as we deliver for our customers and partners, recognising that our employees are our greatest asset.
Wellbeing is all about having a healthy body and mind giving our people the best opportunity to keep both physically and mentally well and in turn, work better for our community of partners.
Sarah Evans, Head of HR explains:
Through lockdown and ongoing Covid related restrictions, mental health wellbeing has been more important than ever as many have gone through their own personal challenges, been in situations where they haven’t had the opportunity to connect with others in person and where it has been more difficult to create separation between work and home. Despite some of these issues receding as Covid restrictions ease, it is still important to address them on an ongoing basis.
Supporting people physically has also been key as the working environment has changed in recent years. Right from the outset of Covid and working from home restrictions, our Health and Safety Coordinator conducted Desk Station Assessments for our 400 colleagues and we provided training so that people knew how best to sit at their home-based desks – sometimes it’s the simple things that can be the most effective.
We all perform at our best and get the most out of our roles when we are feeling both mentally and physically well. We want people to come to work and enjoy what they are doing which in turn leads to creativity, innovation and increased outputs.
It’s been important to stay connected with each other during these difficult times. As a business we introduced Café roulette where everyone across the business was randomly selected to have a coffee with two others from different departments. This included everyone, from the CEO or Executive Team to people starting their career at Premium Credit. It’s good to talk - everyone loved it! We have also supported our colleagues by encouraging connection through online, leisure related clubs ranging from a knit and natter group to book and chess clubs.
We also introduced groups to help people remain physically well hosted on a platform called Cabin Fever, which later evolved into our very own Zen Zone! This included groups like Couch to 5k, cycling and competitions to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors.
Communication is key
Communication continues to be important to maintain culture and a sense of wellbeing. A number of initiatives were introduced during lockdown to help keep colleagues up to date with business activities. The Executive Team presented Leadership calls across the business every 2 weeks where anyone could ask them questions. It allowed colleagues to see the executive team as people rather than just management, giving further connection to them as leaders.
Our teams also presented information about what they were doing across the business so that colleagues had a greater understanding of how the company was working. In addition, different departments produced videos outlining what they were doing in their spare time to keep themselves occupied, which included anything from dog walking to dancing, watching films to baking. We invited key-note speakers to come and tell their stories which brought the business together and encouraged people to look externally for added motivation. These and other initiatives helped keep everyone informed, inspired and in touch.
On a practical level, Mental Health First Aiders were trained so that colleagues had support if needed and all managers were trained on managing mental health. Flexibility was important as people home schooled with managers working with their teams to provide as much flexibility as possible. We also introduced initiatives to encourage people to take breaks including introducing no meetings over lunchtime and a 3pm finish on a Friday during lockdown.
Due to their success, many of these initiatives will continue after the pandemic is over to help maintain wellbeing.
The focus for 2022 will be how we maintain a positive culture as we move to a hybrid working approach where people, if working remotely, can remain connected. We also need to continue to encourage people to keep a work life balance when their place of work is in their home. We will be introducing a calendar of activities sharing best practice in wellbeing and will be running events where people from across the business can mix. Engagement Champions will look at how we can improve engagement across the business and we will be running leadership programmes and personal development workshops to explore how to lead an engaged and empowered workforce.
Continuing the focus on wellbeing is more important than ever with people wanting to work for employers who take it seriously. Having colleagues who are engaged and well will inevitably lead to increased productivity and innovation and the organisation will be a place where people want to work.
Building our culture
Wellbeing is just one element of what we’re doing to build our culture and forms part of our evolving Sustainability programme. Premium Credit is a responsible employer, and we want our colleagues to thrive. People want to feel that they are working for an employer that is aligned to their values. If they do, they are more likely to be happy which leads to greater wellbeing.