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The rise of the well workplace

Caterer.com People Awards 2019 | Workplace Wellbeing Initiative Winners | Marriott Hotels Limited – Pennines Cluster | Peter Nicholson, Director of Human Resources

Workplace wellbeing has risen up the discussion agenda as more and more individuals and organisations speak out.  High profile advocates have made it OK not to be OK and employers are recognising the benefits of having a well and happy workforce.

Marriott Hotels Limited – Pennines Cluster, Winners of the 2019 Caterer.com Workplace Wellbeing Initiative, took positive steps to recognise and support their employee’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Take Care – The Challenge

We asked Peter Nicholson, Marriott’s Cluster Director of Human Resources,  what Take Care was all about and how it had impacted on employees within Marriott Hotels?

‘In 2016 the Company launched its global Associate Wellbeing Programme – Take Care.  Our challenge was to embed Take Care across the Pennine region, making it part of our local daily culture where it is ok to be honest about how you were feeling.  We didn’t want it to be viewed as a corporate level programme.  We wanted associates to feel comfortable talking to us about their wellbeing and mental health and, with their permission, share it with colleagues so that their return to work was to a supportive and nurturing environment’.

So what is Take Care? “Take Care” is a wellness initiative promoting wellbeing and happiness through three key pillars;

Me – Living my best life by nurturing my body, mind and career and building a secure future.

You and Me – Building genuine and supportive relationships at work and as part of the Marriott Family.

We – Joining Marriott in doing good in our communities and promoting wellbeing around the world.

Get Everyone On Board

We asked Peter about implementing the programme. ‘It was important that our plans and actions under the Take Care banner were coordinated and delivered consistently, with a Cluster Take Care Strategy of core activities that were delivered by all our hotels. The key core themes

for the cluster are around Mental Health, Healthy Eating, Exercise, Diversity and Inclusion as well as Financial Wellbeing.

An additional challenge was to ensure that all managers across the business bought into the programme and that they understood the benefits to them and the business of having a healthy, happy and active workforce.

Positive Impact Across the Region

Peter continued, ‘Since developing our Cluster-wide approach, we have seen many positive results, including a significant increase in the number of associates volunteering to become Take Care Champions, from 8 in 2017 to 25 in 2018 across the Cluster, enabling the hotels to deliver 285 Take Care activities across all 3 pillars, an increase from the previous year of 150%.

Increase in Volunteer Activities

Additionally, the growth in the number of Champions focusing on our local community resulted in 1264 volunteer activities in 2018, an increase of 60% year on year.

Reduction in Sickness Levels

Since the start of Take Care, there has been a significant reduction in associate absence days, a decline of 45% year on year (2018-2017), with a decline of 51% over the same period in company sickness pay.

Recognition for Best Practice in Europe

As a Cluster (Region) of Hotels we have enjoyed recognition across Europe for a number of our focused approaches to Mental Health Training and the creation and implementation of Mental Health First Aid Kits.

Peter concluded, ‘ there is no end to the Take Care programme.  It’s part of our culture now and is being replicated within other clusters in the UK and Europe.

Tips for implementing a Workplace Wellness Initiative

  1. Identify someone with passion for the topic to drive it forward.  Big change initiatives need enthusiasm to drive momentum to make a difference
  2. When creating a wellness campaign that involves activities, keep it broad. Not everyone is interested in the same thing, for example Plogging (walking and little picking (isn’t for everyone but is one activity that Marriot Associates can participate in.
  3. Create a mechanism to share the successes, information, fun, activities to encourage engagement and grow buy-in organically – don’t try and force it. Let your team come to you and let then know how they can get involved.

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