Supporting the health and wellbeing of its more than 13,000 employees in the UK and Ireland is a key strategy for global professional services firm Accenture, with the employer aiming to be the most inclusive and diverse organisation in the world by 2020. Tony Horan, head of human capital and diversity at Accenture UK and Ireland, says: “Our health and wellbeing approach is based around four pillars: healthy heart and lungs; wrist, core and spine; nutrition, hydration and digestion; and sleep and mental health.”
As well as a range of benefits, including health assessments, subsidised gym membership and confidential counselling, creating an environment where employee wellbeing is at the fore is central to the strategy. “Health awareness and prevention are essential,” explains Horan. “No one can be at their best if they don’t feel their best,” Horan explains.
Accenture offers a number of initiatives to enable this, including Bupa Boost, which uses social media and a little healthy competition to engage employees; health coaches, allowing employees to access personalised support; and a variety of employee-led sports and activity clubs from hill walking and football to yoga.
Breaking down stigmas around mental health is another important strand of the strategy. To support this objective, the organisation introduced its Mental Health Allies Programme in 2014. Employees who want to be part of this attend an interactive training workshop co-developed with mental health charity Mind. Once completed, they receive a lanyard so they can be easily identified as trusted advocates by colleagues facing mental health challenges.
“We’ve recently trained our 1,000th ally, which means they have a significant presence in the [organisation],” says Horan. “This really helps to normalise conversations around mental health and promote a culture of openness that supports employee wellbeing.”