· Features

2020 best health and wellbeing strategy: NatWest Group

In February 2020, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), a subsidiary of NatWest Group, set out a new commitment to become a purpose-led organisation.

By becoming a more sustainable business it aimed to deliver better outcomes for customers, colleagues, shareholders, and wider society.

Although RBS already had an established wellbeing strategy, as part of its new commitment NatWest Group looked to improve the scheme by encouraging employees to make people pledges.

In March, along with the rest of the world, the situation changed. CEO Alison Rose announced the group would be introducing social distancing measures for key workers and that 40,000 RBS colleagues would be instructed to work from home.

In less than a month, colleagues had a whole new set of physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing priorities and challenges that needed to be addressed at an unprecedented pace and scale.

To inform its strategy, the people team at RBS used research from Willis Towers Watson, Gartner, CIPD and the World Health Organisation, alongside internal data/colleague sentiment analysis and behavioural science and professional judgement.

The Live Well Being You strategy was the outcome of this evidenced-based approach. Live Well Being You built wellbeing and learning into daily routines and provided channels for colleagues to share their talents.

Some of the areas that made the biggest difference to its success included launching the Wellbeing COVID-19 Hub and creating a three-month wellbeing plan. The group also extended wellbeing support to customers and provided all colleagues with 24/7 access to a GP.

The plan revamped the wellbeing operating rhythm and proposition of the bank. It mobilised a variety of daily live wellbeing events, often run by colleagues for colleagues, such as ‘deskercise’, sleep classes, yoga, story time for children (to give colleagues a break from childcare) and wellbeing workshops.

It also provided free access to Les Mills workout programmes, enhanced its bereavement support with the introduction of practical steps and emotional support following bereavement.

The bank encouraged colleagues to adopt the wellbeing plan through a multi-channel communications approach. It used intranet messaging, cascade briefings to line managers, and posted to over 28,000 members in its Facebook At Work wellbeing community.

By doing so, it was able to support over 64,000 colleagues immediately. RBS’ ability to put together the plan in a short window impressed the judges.

While companies such as RBS are usually well resourced, the judges acknowledged that it takes a lot of effort to build and deliver on this scale – scoring it ahead of the other entries for this year’s best health and wellbeing strategy.


Comply Direct Limited

Department for Work and Pensions

Farne Salmon and Trout

West Dunbartonshire Council

Find the full list of the 2020 HR Excellence awards winners here. You can also watch the event on demand and register your interest in the 2021 event here.