Global financial services organisation The Taxback Group has tailored its health and wellbeing programme, Group Life, to accommodate 1,400 employees based across 33 countries.
Group Life originally launched in February 2017, during the organisation’s annual wellbeing week. The programme is structured around three pillars which form the basis for a yearly event calendar: mind, body and work-life balance.
With eight organisations under The Taxback Group’s umbrella, operating in countries from Bulgaria to Australia, this wellbeing initiative is key to engaging a diverse international workforce.
Rachael O’Shea, engagement and communications officer at The Taxback Group, says: “Group Life is that common link between all the different [businesses] and between all the different employees as well. We treat it as a common state, where we can all get together.”
An example of this is a recent charity walk in support of World Cancer Day, held on 4 February 2019. Although commonplace in Ireland, where The Taxback Group’s head office is based, the notion of a charity walking event is not common in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian employees suggested a replacement planking challenge; O’Shea found this to be such a popular idea that the challenge was rolled out across the group as part of this year’s wellbeing week, with teams comprising two men and two women competing to see who could hold a plank position for the longest.
Employees based in New Jersey also had to skip the walking event due to being snowed in; forced to keep the wellbeing week events indoors, the organisation hosted a smoothie morning and had a nutritionist speak about meal preparation and healthy eating. New Jersey staff also participated in the planking challenge.
In these situations, communications and the Group Life branding are vital. The programme is primarily communicated via the staff intranet and emails, but in April 2019 the organisation introduced television screens across all operating sites, to enable instant communications that would not get lost in employees’ inboxes.
The Taxback Group also records webinars as part of Group Life which all employees can access across the globe, irrespective of differing time zones, and wellbeing champions promote Group Life initiatives at each office location.
The Taxback Group also takes a global approach to the wellbeing budget. Remote staff are awarded a wellbeing allowance to enable them to participate, while the budget for different locations varies depending on the number of employees. Smaller operating sites receive a higher budgetary allowance per person, as larger sites are better placed to take advantage of economies of scale.
“In [one office], because that budget is that bit higher we would pay for a full year’s gym membership,” O’Shea explains. “There’s only six people in the office, so it’s not practical to expect just those six people to do a workout class once a week at lunchtime, like we do in Kilkenny. One [employee] has a gym membership, one plays golf, so we got him a golf membership; it depends on the individual. We do tailor our wellbeing programme to the individual and to the circumstances as well.”
“We do pride ourselves on being a very inclusive [organisation],” O’Shea concludes. “We don’t want our six employees in Sydney to feel like they don’t get anything. It is [about] trying to have a consistent offering across the globe in all of our different offices.”