The Three Pillars of Wellbeing

Brian Clohessy , 30 September 2021

BVN’s Head of People & Character Brian Clohessy describes the practice’s wellbeing initiatives, including inhouse Working Cultural Groups, which focus on the three pillars of physical, social and mental wellbeing.

BVN, 324 employees
Sydney, Brisbane, New York and London

Does your practice have processes in place (formal or informal) to check on people’s mental wellbeing? How successful have these been?

Yes we do, we have a wellbeing check-in call via Teams with everyone in the practice. We initiated it in lockdown and gave people the option of frequency to receive the calls. It ranges from weekly to monthly. It involves our Admin team calling each BVNer to check in on them and record the responses in a survey – the survey allows us to track consistent data and then action it each week.

They have been hugely successful in making sure no one falls through the cracks, alerting us to the challenges and issues facing people, and giving us the data we need to action things quickly and tailor our studio-wide communications. Between last year and the current lockdown, we have done more than 1500 calls to our people, and their feedback has been very positive and appreciative of the initiative. It also allows us to encourage those really struggling to talk to friends, family, their GP or our EAP to get the tools and support to navigate these tough times.

What support systems did you have in place pre-COVID?

We have our EAP program and five trained/ accredited Mental Wellbeing First Aiders in practice. We also have a dedicated page on our Intranet for Wellbeing, which outlines our strategy around it. We highlight it every RUOK day and with quarterly talks on the topic.

Have you implemented any new initiatives or strategies to improve wellbeing since the arrival of COVID in early 2020? What are they and how useful / successful have you found them?

See item one above. We also sent an EOI to the practice to seek participants for a series of Working Cultural Groups, which include Social Connection, BVN Active and Mental Wellbeing. Supporting a mentally healthy workplace is pivotal for us at BVN. We categorise our initiatives under the three pillars of physical, social and mental wellbeing, all of which will ultimately impact a mentally healthy workplace. They have been critical in ensuring engagement with our people through all three aspects during lockdown and have been very well received. The Microsoft Teams Channels promoting these initiatives have been very uplifting, especially with the supportive posts and encouragement.

How have you communicated your policy, strategies and initiatives to employees? Have you rolled these out in formal meetings or training sessions, or informal catch-ups, for instance?

We have a dedicated page on our Intranet for Wellbeing, which outlines our strategy around it. We highlight it every RUOK day and with quarterly talks on the topic. We have Teams Channels promoting any form of activity, especially in lockdown, with prizes for most steps in a week and most liked picture of outdoors. This is building social connection and encouraging activity, which are both pillars in our Mental Wellbeing Strategy. Our Mental Wellbeing Working Group meets weekly to develop initiatives to build mental wellbeing within practice and continue to promote it.

Practice owners/Directors often neglect their own needs. How do your practice leaders take care of their own mental wellbeing?

They are part of the check-in calls and we encourage them to participate in the myriad events around social connection, physical activity and mental wellbeing. All you can do is encourage them to think about their self care.

Do you have any plans or ambitions for future initiatives to address mental wellbeing issues within your practice?

We are implementing a six-month face to face (post lockdown) check-in with everyone in practice and a member of the senior leadership team. This will provide another forum to raise any issues/ challenges our people are facing. We will continue the work of the Mental Wellbeing Working Group to address issues raised by our people.

What advice would you give to other practices based on your experiences so far?

Start talking openly about Mental Wellbeing – it’s the only way to de-stigmatise the topic and encourage/ give your people the confidence to communicate their struggles to you.