We spoke to Jennifer Hutton, Deputy Director for Organisational Development at the National Church Institutions, to find out more about their journey to a culture of belonging, inclusion and wellbeing.
We want everyone in the NCIs to feel they belong, are valued for who they are and what they contribute – and to flourish in their work supporting the mission of the Church. That means wellbeing is a priority for us, so we set about building a wellbeing and resilience package that can support us all through the highs and lows.
We introduced an Employee Assistance Programme in 2018 that gives our people access to online and telephone services that support all aspects of physical emotional and mental wellbeing. Alongside this, we trained a pool of Mental Health First Aiders, held our first Mental Health Awareness day and a wellbeing event for our HR colleagues working in local dioceses which included sharing personal stories on a short film. These initiatives complemented our existing spiritual support offer including our chaplaincy service and prayer groups - available to people of all faiths and none - and a range of diversity and social networks from plant and book clubs to choir.
Dialling it up
Like many employers we switched to remote working overnight in mid-March. Building on our wellbeing groundwork, with a leadership team who explicitly placed wellbeing at the heart of our approach in regular new all-staff webinars, supported by agile technology and clear guidance on health and safety, all meant we were well prepared to support our people’s wellbeing during this unprecedented time.
As well as easily accessible tips on our intranet across the practical, physical, mental and emotional aspects of wellbeing, we rapidly designed a webinar that offered strategies and tips for personal resilience and made these resources available on our intranet, together with offering longer, interactive personal resilience sessions designed for small groups. This bespoke offer has had a good take up and strong feedback that it helped meet deeper needs. We’ve continued to recruit, and our new corporate induction includes a video clip explaining our wellbeing offer so new joiners know how important wellbeing is to us and where they can find what they need.
In May we invited people to respond to our wellbeing survey. We wanted to know what resources and support were working well – including family, friends, work or their church - and what more we could do to help. As a result, we launched a webinar to support our line managers to manage remotely, with an emphasis on trust and wellbeing. We asked for feedback from their team discussions about wellbeing and stress.
More and more the feedback tells a good story and suggests that we are recognised by our people as putting wellbeing at the front and centre of what we do. We are already seeing many benefits of our wellbeing journey including improved health with lower sickness levels, collaborative thinking and working and greater resilience and resourcefulness. Our internal work aligns well with the Church support we’ve been seeking to provide our clergy, on both their congregational wellbeing and their own. We will re-run the NCI survey in Sept 2020 and continue to listen, learn and grow.
To find out more about the Church of England, NCI and the opportunities available please click here.