On Monday 21st October we kicked off Splash Damage’s first-ever Wellbeing Week. We sat down with some of the people and departments involved in making this a reality to discuss what wellbeing means to both Splash Damage and our staff.
“We’ve never really had a big initiative like this before” said Kate, our HR Manager, “we’ve done small bits here or there, but we’ve never really focused on “wellbeing” as part of our studio’s strategy; we want to change that.”
While we have lots of benefits that touch on things like physical and mental wellbeing, part of the challenge can be engaging a 300+ person staff with them, and shifting an established studio culture to be more open to discussing our wellbeing.
Line Manager Training
“One of the most important bits for us (and it’s slightly separate from Wellbeing Week) is having robust line manager training around mental health and wellbeing. That’s the foundation for us,” said Kate.
This is a two-part training program, rather than an information-overloaded, one-off session. It’s incredibly important to us that our line managers are engaged and empowered to say to their peers or their reports “Are you ok? Let’s talk.”
Over a third of our business are line managers, so it’s critical for us to empower them to recognise when their colleagues, and, crucially, they themselves, are struggling. While the training is centered on line managers for now, we want to breed a culture where it’s encouraged to talk openly about our wellbeing.
HR are often thought of being the only ones who can help in these instances, but we want our staff to know that that isn’t true. We want to empower our managers to take an active role in supporting their employees and colleagues on the ground every single day.
But what about when line manager training is done? “That was the spark for us to make this into something bigger,” said Kate. “We knew we had to keep doing the line manager training to capture new hires, people being promoted into leadership roles and as a refresher course, but (the training) is allowing us to take a step back and assess what changes are impactful before moving forwards.”
Wellbeing Week was a part of that change. Aside from the line manager and mental health awareness workshops through our partners at Luminate, our Facilities and HR teams worked hard to fill the week with activities that are all things wellbeing.
It’s not just about these focused workshops around mental wellbeing, we went even wider; from Becky organising in-house counselling sessions, to Emily’s organisation of Wellbeing Week itself and Leah’s push to make sure we had financial and physical wellbeing were taken care of, we left no stone unturned. Some of the things we already do for our staff, but also to get their feedback on what they want to see from us moving forward, in both our benefits and our events.
That ranged from highlighting our flexible working program in more detail, to putting some of our staff run exercise clubs at the forefront; football, dodgeball, running, climbing and the like.
Improving wellbeing can also be as simple as highlighting some issues that affect our expats, especially regarding tenancy rights. We have people from over 34 countries at Splash now, and tenancy rights can vary wildly from country to country, so we have to ensure that they have all of the information they need, through on-site seminars, one to one talks and over the phone support.
We also had some of our benefit partners like BUPA, Health Assured and Medicash, come to the studio to deliver seminars on their services and answering the staff’s burning questions like “How do I claim things?” and “Wait, I can get free sports massages?”
Not only did we focus on larger things like that, but we’re also adding books on both wellbeing and mindfulness to our company library. Throughout the week we had small mindfulness activities around the office to encourage people to slow down a little, and created a quiet space for our staff to take a few minutes whenever they might need it.
One of the most popular benefits we offer is free gym membership, but to encourage even more employees to take it up we invited one of our local gyms, Orange Theory, into the office to give nutrition seminars and individual health checks for staff and, if anyone was feeling brave enough, they hosted a very early morning class for Splash employees!
What changes do we want to see?
Making big cultural changes can be difficult, but we’re hopeful that we’ll see smaller, incremental changes over time that will make wellbeing a more prominent topic in our staff’s lives.
We’re not expecting everyone to start running three times a week, cutting out sugar entirely or becoming a gym buff – but it’s more the smaller changes we’re encouraging. People taking 10 or 15 minutes out of their days to decompress in a quiet space, maybe trying out some of the clubs we have or asking about the specifics of a particular benefit.
“The biggest takeaway I’d like to see is us talking about mental health even more openly,” said Kate. “I think we’re pretty good at it already, but I want us to be great at it. I want to make talking about it far more commonplace.”
Ultimately, we want the staff to be telling us what they want to see the next time we do a wellbeing week. With 300 or so people here, and new people joining all the time, we know there are brilliant ideas about how we can improve wellbeing, and we can’t wait to see what our staff come up with.
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