Shaun Davis - Global Direction of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability at Royal Mail Group – and his team were recently recognised and rewarded for their award-winning mental wellbeing strategy at the Employee Benefits Awards. Neyber and Business in the Community (BITC) discuss an employer’s duty of care and responsibility when it comes to the wellbeing of their people, as well as Royal Mail Group’s road to success.

Q: A huge congratulations on the recent award win at Employee Benefits Award! How are you feeling? Why do you think Royal Mail took the top spot for Best Mental Wellbeing Strategy?

We’re delighted! I’m very proud that such a prestigious judging panel have recognised our work on mental health and our commitment to the wellbeing of our people.

Q: Financial wellbeing was a key pillar of Royal Mail Group’s overall wellbeing strategy. Why do you feel it’s important to tackle this area specifically?

For various reasons, such as; relationship breakdowns, supporting further education, being a carer, or simply lack of financial education - we are aware of the financial difficulties that some employees may experience and recognise the impact that could be having on their health, often their mental health. It’s important to understand that an individual’s financial wellbeing forms a key part of their overarching health and wellbeing. That’s why the Royal Mail Group programme, Feeling First Class, aims to actively encourage employees to take ownership of their own health and wellbeing and focuses on a range of tools and signposting to support for both mental and physical wellbeing.

Q: We speak to a lot of organisations that are keen to do something to support employee financial wellbeing – but aren’t sure how to go about it. What advice would you give them in terms of getting started? What do you think are the most important first steps?

Start with listening to your employees and stakeholders, look at the feedback from engagement surveys or employee forums or similar. Review data, from your Employee Assistance Programme for example, and understand the demographics of your organisations. Ensure you link in with external organisations like BITC or Neyber and utilise their expertise to shape your financial wellbeing strategy and activity.

Q: Lots of companies struggle between the conflict of implementing wellbeing strategies simply because it’s the right thing to do to look after their employees, and wanting to measure tangible ROI for their business? Where do you stand?

At Royal Mail Group we are committed to further improving our employee’s physical and mental health. We aspire to develop a culture where individuals feel supported and informed so that they can bring the best version of themselves to work, every-day. It’s more than duty of care.

Whilst we review key indicators like; attendance levels, engagement results, feedback from listening forums, and pulse surveys - we believe that by investing in all aspects of wellbeing we will all feel better, perform better, and create a positive working environment that we can all benefit from.

Q: Business processes often mean waiting for approvals and buy-in from Board level. What’s the key to ensuring they are behind initiatives like yours?

Every organisation will face different challenges, we have been fortunate at Royal Mail with both our existing and previous Chief Executive Officer being advocates for keeping our people safe and well at work. Receiving that buy in from senior leaders in the business is vital to demonstrating to employees that there is a commitment right from the top of the business and that the business cares about its employees.

Senior leadership buy in then makes it easier to access the resources and ‘air time’ required amongst competing business priorities to deliver a successful wellbeing programme which can really make a difference to individuals.