A Merseyside housing association has scooped an Investors in People (IIP) award for its efforts to promote greater health and well-being in its workplace.
Magenta Living has earned the IIP’s Health & Well-being Best practice Award for its dedicated two-year programme, which includes things like mental health first-aiders, teams walks, classes on quitting smoking, and mindfulness sessions.
“The health and wellbeing of our employees is of paramount importance to our values as an employer. A healthy work/life balance comes high on the wish-list of many of today’s employees and we want to help people achieve this,” said Joanne Francom, Magenta Living’s assistant director of HR and organisational development.
“We place equal importance on physical and mental wellbeing and are committed to tackling the modern workplace stress epidemic by ensuring a supportive culture where people are encouraged to be open and to look after each other. We’ve recently introduced a team of mental-health first-aiders, members of staff who are trained to recognise the triggers and signs of mental health issues, to step in and provide reassurance and non-judgemental listening to colleagues in distress and to sign-post individuals to further sources of support.”
The Wirral-based association currently employs 535 staff, most of them from the local area. Some of the initiatives to support their health and well-being include sessions on smoking cessation and sleep support, the introduction of a dedicated and affordable gym, and a chill out room, where employees can take part in mindfulness, breathing and relaxation classes.
Furthermore, Magenta Living’s leadership team is said to have taken an active role in the programme, hosting regular lunchtime walks for staff, where individuals can chat and socialise with colleagues, while stretching their legs.
Nutrition and healthy eating is another key theme of the housing association’s well-being approach. The business hosts a regular Foodie Friday event, which see members of the executive team serve up a nutritionally balanced meal to staff at a cost of just £2. The meals are provided by catering students from Wirral Metropolitan College, who use the occasion to sharpen their corporate hospitality skills. In addition to this, employees have been given access to nutritional advice and awareness sessions.
Magenta Living has also supported the health of its outdoor workers by raising awareness of sun safety and skin cancer. It was the first business to sign up to the Outdoor Workers Pledge from Public Health Liverpool and North West Cancer Research, which encourages employers to promote the use of sun protection and provide protective clothing and sunscreen, as well as raise awareness of the symptoms of skin cancer and the importance of early diagnosis with employees.
“Achieving the Investors In People Health and Well-being Good Practice Award is a fantastic achievement for Magenta Living and we hope to build on our success even further in future but, more importantly, we want to nurture a culture that will support physical and mental well-being for all of our employees for a long time to come. We know that the continued provision of excellent services that we pride ourselves on at Magenta Living relies on having a healthy, happy workforce,” Francom added.
“In 2019 we’ll be working hard to improve on what we’ve delivered so far and have plans for more wellness-focused initiatives, including staff hiking trips to Snowdonia and the Lake District, additional sleep awareness sessions and a health and wellbeing themed annual staff conference with activities to suit all abilities, including an employee five-a-side tournament.
“Our five-a-side events have been a real success story in terms of participation, with around 10% of employees getting involved. We’re also thinking about how we can broaden the provision of some of our classes and advice sessions, to build them into the wide variety of initiatives we already deliver to help improve wellbeing for our tenants. We use well-being valuation to measure the social value of Magenta Living’s work in neighbourhoods, and this is a really important metric of success to us.”
Backed by the Department of Health, IIP has worked with more than 400 organisations to develop and pilot the framework for the Health & Well-being Best Practice Award. To secure the award, businesses must undergo a rigorous evidence-based review process. Magenta Living achieved an ‘advanced’ score against each of the key award criteria, the highest score possible during the assessment.
Main Image: (Left to right) Richard Harbridge, HR and organisational development apprentice; Denny Beacham, health and safety and environment manager; Joanne Ford, training and development advisor; Jane Howard, HR advisor; Rob Mealor, organisational development project manager; Janet Cresswell, communications team leader; Jamie Martin, head of community regeneration; and Tom Garside, facilities manager