We are excited to announce we are a North East area finalist for the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2020 for the Wellbeing Award category.
Investing in our team
Our global footprint spans over 60 countries worldwide. Our office houses the four companies that make up the *ASIC Group and our charitable foundation, yet it surprises people that we are a small (but highly committed) office team. Our international presence, and the work we do, conjures up images of huge expansive offices, manned by hundreds. In reality, we have an enthusiastic and dedicated office team who liaise with our wider network of inspectors.
ASIC has been investing in the wellbeing of our staff long before it became a “Silicon Valley trend” to install swimming pools on the top of roofs and beanbag-filled-ping-pong-table-rooms in offices. We believe our rather more low-key approach has more meaningful and greater, demonstrable, impact. Due to the volume of work and demands on our team, health and wellbeing must be a leadership priority. Our office staff and inspectors work very hard, so it is important to us that we invest in their physical and mental health, prioritising prevention over cure.
Flexible working for all
Our staff are not expected to access e-mails or work outside of hours, and we manage expectations regarding response times. We encourage staff to take time off when needed and are flexible around appointments and life events, meaning there are no issues with long-term sickness or unexpected absence. Everyone has days they need to see a doctor/pick-up a sick child from school/support family/or pop to the shops for something urgent. Chastising our employees for having lives which don’t always conveniently fall into a mid-day lunch break will only ever lead to a disgruntled workforce who subsequently feel justified in the need to phone in sick. We try to provide meaningful work in a healthy environment and, in turn, the quality of work produced is exceptional, and measurable productivity is high.
Health is both physical and mental
A culture of openness is also important; the key to this is ensuring all staff feel they have a key role in the future of the organisation. It is not possible to act on all ideas, but it is crucial to hear and address them. Equally, stress is a normal part of life and, unfortunately, many have a lot to contend in their lives outside of work. The last thing we want to do in the workplace is to add more uncontrollable stress. Workloads are always under review and mental health has never been a taboo subject here – we find Action for Happiness resources particularly helpful.
An infamous CEO’s thoughts on meetings made the news last year – walk out if not productive, why waste their time and yours? We believe this type of thinking often lies behind companies who speak of being progressive but their staff speak of a toxic and oppressive culture. To walk out and disregard the thoughts of others can add stress to those who already feel like they are drowning in a sea of louder voices. A better idea – keep meetings short. Unable to address topics within time constraints? Make sure that the employee feels they can come to you afterwards to talk and resolve the issue.
Wellbeing and employee growth
The most rewarding aspect of making wellbeing a central focus is in watching the growth of our employees. We are mindful that (often due to previous situations) new employees often undervalue themselves and their work. We want everyone to feel invested in and are keen to nurture, and challenge, watching individuals grow in their skills and newfound confidence. We have coached staff through fears and doubts, provided training to help them develop within their roles and progress to new ones, and achieve in ways they have previously thought impossible.
Benefits for business
Our culture is important to us and is evident to all, and this influences the business we attract and retain. We assess student and staff welfare as part of the accreditation process, and our institutions see this is important to us also. Our staff thrive in their roles; the testimonials we receive about “the energy and synergy” of ASIC are a big part of why we continue to grow.
On a final note, we find it heartening to see so many companies making health and wellbeing a priority and offer all those shortlisted in the Northeast, and across the UK, our congratulations!
More about the FSB Wellbeing Award:
The Wellbeing Award recognises those that are demonstrating initiatives and practices that prioritise #workplacewellbeing to help drive the UK’s productivity. More about the awards can be found here.