At DSG, we have always prioritised the health and happiness of all our people. So when our CEO Richard Hoggart witnessed the global decline in mental health worsening, he was inspired to take action. Not just in the workplace, but all over the world wellbeing was becoming a growing concern, particularly in young people.
Thats’s why we decided to look into ways that we could adapt and make a commitment to the company and our DSG family.
Richard believed that working for DSG should be a positive factor in someone’s life. He understood that for people to achieve great things in their personal lives, their employer must be there to support them as much as possible too. After all, that is where we spend most of our time.
The Group decided that it was time to plan for reality and that wellbeing would become a core company value. Everyone has a life outside of work, which brings their own daily challenges, such as being a parent or living life in lockdown. This is real life and we knew that to tackle the issue, DSG needed a real solution.
Creating a culture that promotes self-care and wellness doesn’t just happen overnight though, so our leaders went on a search. Richard remembered Rob Woollen, whom he had known since 2010 when Rob was introduced as his rehab PT after surgery. Rob was now heading up the Wellbeing Division at PeoplePlus – a leading skills provider. PeoplePlus provide wellbeing solutions, training and financial advice, through packages that provide a whole range of tools and resources.
However, we needed a more tangible approach to add to our wellbeing support. We knew that, although the tools are available to all our colleagues, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will use them. Consequently, we began to look for more proactive ways to offer wellbeing support to the team.
That’s when we had an idea to develop a more hands-on approach, but to do this, we would need help! Coincidentally, Rob had decided to move away from his commercial role at PeoplePlus to focus more on the delivery of wellbeing initiatives.
Richard found Rob to be an inspiring person who could turn any negative into a positive or an opportunity for growth. On learning that Rob had decided on a career change, Richard reached out to him. Having followed his progression to becoming a leading wellbeing expert, he knew he was the perfect man for the job. It was then he asked Rob to join DSG as Head of Wellbeing and Organisational Development.
Just weeks into joining DSG, Rob had already launched an initiative, encouraging our people to get active and escape their emails. What first started as a one-off outdoor meeting for Rob and Richard, soon became a DSG trend!
Rob challenged everyone to meet him at moorlands and mountains across the North West for a hike. Many of our people began meeting up on their weekends to work on their wellbeing and get to know each other better.
Tim Marlow, National Sales Development Manager recently went on one of these hikes with Rob to Ilkley Moor and said this:
“We decided to head up to Ilkley Moor, mainly to get me away from my phone and emails – it worked! We had a 9-mile hike and only got a bit lost! Great to catch up outside the office, chatting about business and personal life.
You get out what you put in and it was 100% worthwhile. We are booked in again. This resource is now available to everyone in the company”.
Robs words on why wellbeing is important
We then caught up with Rob to find out why he believes wellbeing is important, in his own words…
“Although we are a FinTech company, we recognise that our people are the driving force of the business. Providing a wellbeing offer that not only gives support in times of difficulty or ill health – but also takes positive action to improve wellbeing -allows our colleagues to be the best versions of themselves.
That is why my role encompasses elements of safety, support, health improvement and career development. Supporting our people with both their work lives and their lifestyles is the right thing to do as an employer.
We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, so this time must contribute to our health and wellbeing.
Our offer gives colleagues access to health expertise, meaning we are never more than a phone call away from a GP/counsellor. Additionally, they can take advantage of specialist advice, like our monthly wellbeing coaching sessions and our online exercise and nutrition library. Making changes to your wellbeing is not a one-off decision, so our digital assets provide ongoing support and goal tracking.
Our mental wellbeing assets challenge the idea that mental health is something that you either have or do not. We all have mental health – and it can be affected by many things, both in and out of work.
With our dedicated advice line, our people can talk about anything that is bothering them. From family issues to money, and from legal advice to personal development. The idea is to take steps to improve mental wellbeing before it becomes a problem. We also have access to step-by-step self-development programmes through Togetherall to help with many common issues such as anger, overthinking, worry, anxiety and low mood.
These can be used by everyone to improve how they feel – they are not just for people with medical conditions.
We are proud to offer so much to our people in terms of tools to help build and improve on their wellbeing, regardless of the financial outgoings required to provide these services”.
Richard believes in addition to our general wellbeing, DSG had to invest in something else that affects our mental health – our finances!
So, through PeoplePlus, we proudly partnered with nudge – a financial wellbeing company who offer advice on money management, budgeting and more! Together we believe, educating people on their finances is the key to having more financial success and less financial stress.
According to a 2020 survey by Aviva, financial strain is causing poor mental health in a third of Brits. Poor mental health can affect our ability to make healthy decisions and can lead to more serious health complications. We hope that by utilising nudge, we can avoid this for all our people.
In addition to nudge, DSG has invested in wellbeing programmes for both physical and mental benefits. Including Westfield Health which provides expert health and advice, from meal plans to 24/7 counselling and more, as mentioned above.
Another programme included in our package is Tonic 365. The Tonic aims to keep every member of our organisation healthy, engaged and motivated. They do this by delivering results-focused workplace wellness solutions that engage teams, motivate individuals and drive organisational performance.
It’s a proven fact that when businesses focus on employee wellbeing, staff morale increases, which improves productivity. We’ve already received exceptional feedback from our resources, such as our fortnightly one-to-ones with our PeoplePlus wellbeing expert, Naomi Greene.
Naomi is a semi-professional footballer for premier league club, Burnley FC. She visits the office regularly to help our people make actionable plans to improve all areas of wellbeing.
Our Pricing Analyst, Zeeshan Tahir said “The session was definitely useful. Naomi provides great advice and structure, whether it is fitness related, nutrition or anything that comes under wellbeing!”.
Digital Sales Executive, Georgia Royle also fed back on Naomi’s coaching stating “Definitely recommend; Naomi is a great listener, very easy to talk to and offers great advice. Really helped me when I went for my session”.
To further support our goal of happier and healthier employees, we have also taken great strides to ensure that all staff are safe and comfortable with their working situations, during the current pandemic.
Due to Covid-19, we had to consider more ways that we could adapt to change and assist our people. We knew that we needed a unique solution, so we got in touch with Regus. They’re a multinational provider of serviced offices, business lounges and conferencing facilities.
Through Regus, we leased access to 100+ locations to provide office spaces for our regional development managers (RDMs), who are usually out on the roads meeting lots of car dealers. Having access to offices all around the country provides our RDMS with a home away from home and gives them a better work-life balance.
To further ensure staff safety, we installed multiple hand sanitiser stations and safe guidance throughout the office. We also have new meeting rooms that double as break spaces. These rooms provide safe social distancing solutions and opportunities for all our people to work from home.
We are very proud of the changes we have made to prioritise wellbeing and we plan on investing even more into it! We’ve noticed a boost in positivity and we look forward to seeing what else will manifest from our wellbeing initiatives.
We firmly believe there’s more than one path to achieve workplace wellbeing and we hope that our efforts inspire other businesses to take action and add wellbeing to their agenda.
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