A choir and summer walking group are two of the more creative initiatives that are helping Hogan Lovells employees remain mentally fit: “A healthy, engaged and resilient workforce is more productive, efficient and able to provide clients with the service they expect from us”.
Law firm Hogan Lovells has a well-developed wellbeing programme, underpinned by its vision to promote the good health, wellbeing and resilience of its people, with a focus on prevention and early intervention. The programme is successful because of effective leadership, open communication and the comprehensive framework of support available.
In January the firm held its third annual ‘Wellbeing Week’, and enlisted the support of all its wellbeing providers, including occupational health, private medical insurance, EAP and gym provider, to ensure it targeted key areas. The week included a series of talks, promotions, and activities. As part of the week all employees were given a mindfulness colouring book and could also participate in colouring in giant mindfulness prints that hung in the reception area.
In May the firm marked Mental Health Awareness Week with two talks: ‘Let’s talk about it’ which focused on being able to talk openly about mental health issues, and ‘Living with the two of them’ which gave a first-hand account of being a family member of someone with a mental health issue.
In addition, the firm hosted the launch event for ‘This is Me,’ a pioneering City-wide mental health campaign, initiated and led by the Lord Mayor’s 2016 Power of Diversity programme. The campaign seeks to reduce stigma and raise awareness around mental health in the workplace, by encouraging employees who have experienced a mental health problem to share their story with colleagues. Since launching the Campaign, the firm has had a number of people come forward and share their stories which has had a hugely positive impact.
Keeping employees mentally healthy is a continuous process, and the support of Nicholas Cheffings, Hogan Lovells Chair, and Susan Bright, Regional Managing Partner for UK and Africa, has been crucial in helping to foster the right climate. Engaging middle management has also been critical to success, as it is they who have the greatest impact on the day-to-day lives of their teams.
An important element of the wellbeing programme is ‘signposting’. Posters, desk-dropped postcards and stickers for security passes all carry the wellbeing services contact information, while a dedicated intranet site contains details of all the services. The firm has introduced resilience training into its key people development programmes, and pays particular attention to people when they are promoted as it believes this to be a typical ‘stress point’.
A dedicated on-site counsellor and a chaplain (for people of any or no faith) offer confidential advice on a self-referral basis, and there is a confidential support line available through the EAP provider.
And because physical and mental health are linked, the firm also has a private GP service and an on-site gym with fitness centre, classes (throughout the day), physiotherapist and beauty therapist. It also runs walking tours and a walking club during the summer, provides access to an on-line wellbeing portal in which employees can access advice and tools tailored to their individual wellbeing needs, and is working with its occupational health adviser in providing tailored fitness programmes for those referred to them.
The Disability and Wellbeing Network (DAWN) holds events throughout the year on topics such as sleep, mindfulness, depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Perhaps one of the more creative initiatives is a choir, which has gained over 90 members since it launched, many of whom report feeling much happier at work since they joined. The firm has since provided a dedicated music room for anyone wishing to take time out of their day to play the piano or listen to music.
And Hogan Lovells is measuring the results. There have been over 4,000 hits on the intranet wellbeing site in the last 12 months alone; wellbeing events throughout the year have been oversubscribed; the on-site counsellor has been fully booked-up by people from all levels, groups and departments across the firm; people who’ve done tailored programmes in the gym report higher energy and motivation, improved sleep and better work performance; and the firm is using metrics gained from the employee engagement survey, absence call centre, private medical insurance, EAP, occupational health and gym providers to monitor success and inform the future development of the programme.
“Looking after our people is not only the right thing to do, but also, a healthy, engaged and resilient workforce is more productive, efficient and able to provide clients with the service they expect from us,” concludes Alison Unsted, Head of Global Diversity, Inclusion, and Wellbeing Strategy.