Using wellbeing as an engagement tool

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Managing a hospitality business worth £80 million, I know only too well the importance of staff engagement. My philosophy is that to get the very best service for my clients and consumers, as well as my P&L, engagement is paramount.

Having recently been reaccredited for Investors in People (IIP), I was looking for something that would take us to the next level, complement our incentive schemes and employee initiatives, and drive up our Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS). 

Then I found out about the IIP Health and Wellbeing award. It appealed to me because it was about driving the engagement levels of my workforce, which aids recruitment and retention. 

We have well over 1,000 employees across the UK, working to a shared group vision to become the world’s greatest service organisation. To fulfil this vision we need to maximise engagement and commitment. 

Earning a profit is the main goal in business but I believe improving staff health and wellness raises client satisfaction. This is doing business the right way. In board meetings we talk a lot about ensuring we have an employee’s heart as well as their head. 

It’s top of the agenda when we are making business decisions. So this initiative for me was not about an award but setting a long-term commitment to driving employee health and wellbeing. It was a mechanism for continuous improvement to which the whole board would commit.

As we embarked on the 12-month journey to accreditation we realised we already met many of the criteria. However, it was not neatly wrapped so that our employees knew what was available to them. All businesses strive to be ‘employers of choice’, so it is imperative our staff feel valued and know where to find information. 

We added health and wellbeing as a core leadership principle for the business, and adapted the way we communicate through both a staff magazine and Twitter account called Sharing Platter. 

The teams on each site now have their own health and wellbeing initiative. It includes areas like training, education, volunteering, company social events and gym memberships for employees. Fundamentally they feel the company wants to look after them while they’re at work and at home. The key is helping the teams to be empowered.

In December 2013, we were the first contract caterer in the marketplace to be accredited. I am immensely proud of this, but more importantly it has become an integral part of how we operate. When cost pressures are on, there could be a natural instinct to cut what seems intangible. But I truly believe it’s a great time to invest more in your people and ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Andy Chappell is managing director of ISS Facilities Services, Food and Hospitality in the UK

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