Natallie Shuttleworth, HR Operations Manager at St. Anne’s Community Services, discusses the importance of looking after staff health and wellbeing, and how Mindful Employer helps them to do this.
St Anne’s Community Services provides a wide range of services for vulnerable members of society who require support. We work with people who have a learning disability, have mental health problems, have issues around substance use – drugs and/or alcohol – or who are or have been homeless. Our services include a variety of housing and accommodation-based support and care, day services and community-based support.
As an organisation we are trying to move away from only focusing on stress and looking at health and wellbeing holistically so that we can support employees to be healthy and happy in all aspects of their life. We set up Fresh two years ago, which is a health and wellbeing working group run by employees from across the organisation. Each month Fresh runs a different wellbeing initiative which is publicised across the organisation and links into national initiatives or awareness campaigns. For example, in November we run initiatives about Men’s health and in January we focus on debt awareness and financial health.
Our HR Director, Andrew Mason has said that “As St Anne’s provide a range of services we recognise that employees work in a very challenging environment and work with clients who may have complex needs. Employees work shifts, support clients who have challenging behaviours, can work in services with staffing difficulties and work in a heavily regulated environment, this can all impact on the overall wellbeing of our employees. Setting up Fresh has allowed us to place an increased focus on the health and wellbeing of our staff and helped us view this more holistically. We are working hard as an organisation to help of staff achieve a healthy work life balance, reducing some of the stressors they face in work and to ensure that they look after themselves as well as caring for the clients they support. We are also looking into mental health first aiders across all areas of St Anne’s, including in HR, so employees can support other colleagues who are struggling with their mental health at work before it causes them to be absent from work.”
At St Anne’s we have a EAP provider where employees and family members can access counselling. This is free and operates 24/7 which means that all employees who work a variety of shifts can access this support anytime. We also have an early stress intervention where employees who may be off for stress/anxiety are contacted within 24 hours once referred and signposted to EAP or counsellor. Whilst we try to support positive wellbeing, being Mindful Employer mindful employer helps us to focuses on mental wellbeing of our workforce.