Itsu rolls out employee wellbeing and recognition programme


Asian restaurant organisation Itsu is rolling out a new employee wellbeing and recognition programme to 70 of its restaurants to help improve staff communication and support the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of its 1,300 employees.

Itsu began the roll out of the new programme, provided by LifeWorks, in September 2017 following a successful two-week trial that took place in May 2017. The trial involved 350 staff across various Itsu stores and its academy.

The programme enables employees to gain 24/7 access to support measures relating to personal, emotional, physical, professional and financial wellbeing, both by phone and online. This includes counselling services, clinical support, and coaching.

In addition, the programme includes a recognition platform that helps to encourage instant communication between staff members. The platform allows employees to share news and stories, set up meeting points, ask for help, organise social activities, and create mini communities.

Staff can also award peer-to-peer recognition via the platform to give colleagues a virtual ‘pat on the back’. During the pilot period in May, more than 1,500 peer-to-peer recognition notifications were delivered between employees as part of the programme.

Itsu is looking at featuring preventative initiatives within the programme too, which will be created and added on an ongoing basis. This will include challenges and participation incentives, as well as unique prevention-related content that will be based on employees’ interests.

Employees will also have access to discounts and cashback at more than 9,000 retailers, restaurants and leisure venues.

Itsu communicated the new programme to staff using a photo booth experience, as well as arranging demonstrations of the services and providing assistance to help employees sign up. The roll out communications include emails, a poster campaign, a promotional video, store ambassadors to promote the programme and encourage staff to sign up, as well as including the scheme in ‘How to’ guides in stores.

Annabel Nash (pictured), head of central HR at Itsu, said: “At Itsu, we put people at the heart of what we do and best in class communication is key to a healthy ongoing relationship with our teams. LifeWorks is a great fit for us; we have a largely millennial workforce, so having the ability to communicate with each and every person in a way they will connect with is fundamental.

“People at the heart of what we do is fundamental to the success of Itsu. We are always looking for ways to engage and develop staff, and have a strong training platform already.”