Listen on Apple Podcasts
Man holding a trophy who has just won

Ep24: The truth behind Britain’s Healthiest Workplaces

Join us & three guests as we discuss the winners of Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Winners 2022, why they won and how you can win in 2023.

Join us & three guests as we discuss the winners of Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Winners 2022, why they won and how you can win in 2023.

Like this?

Join 112,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!


The Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Survey (which informs the awards) was established to help businesses of sizes support their employees to be happier, healthier and more productive

Founded by Vitality and free to take part, the Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey: 

  • Gives you deep insight into your employee’s lifestyle, physical and mental health and effects the pandemic has had on them 
  • Gives you recommendations to help boost their physical and mental wellbeing
  • Helps improve business outcomes like productivity and retention
  • Helps you write, execute and measure an effective well-being strategy.

Join us as we talk to Christian Van Stolk, the researcher behind the survey, Jill Pritchard, the person who puts it all together and Donna Burgess, from OpenCredo, this year’s winner.


All the links mentioned in the show.

Jill Pritchard: Director, Vitality at Work at Vitality

Donna Burgess: Head of Operations and People at OpenCredo

Christian van Stolk: Executive Vice President at RAND Europe

The Winners 2022

Link to Ft Report

Connect with your hosts

Related Episodes

Loved this episode? Here are some more you might like:

💬 Want a chat about your workplace culture?

📣 Got feedback/questions/guest suggestions? Email

👍 Like this kinda stuff? Click here to subscribe…

The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

Like this?

Join 112,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!


Donna: What this award has done is it’s also helped our parent company understand the importance of what we do from the people side of things.

Leanne: Hello and welcome to the Truth Lies and Workplace Culture Podcast where we help you. Simplify the science of people. My name is Leanne. I’m a business psychologist.

Al: My name is Al and I’m a business owner. And welcome back. Welcome. And if you are new, then welcome to you. Um, I hope that you’ve been going through our backlog as we’ve been looking at the numbers, and we can tell you how we’ve been snooping on you

Leanne: weekends.

See you. Not really, but no, thank you. Thank you for joining us. You’re very welcome. I’m pleased to get in touch at Truth Lies and is our website. You can follow us on the socials. Truth lies work. Drop us an email, get a drop as a message. We do read them and we do respond. We love to connect with our listeners.

Okay, so what are we

Al: talking about today, Leah?

Leanne: Well, today we are talking about Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Survey and the awards. Last week we were talking about how to build a killer employer brand, and as we learnt, employer brand is the external representation of our internal culture. And of course, culture and wellbeing go hand in hand.

So today we’re gonna talk about Britain’s Health’s Workplace Awards, the lessons you can apply within your culture to create an environment which. People thrive. Don’t worry too much if you’re not from the uk. These insights will help any business of all shapes and sizes, wherever they are in the world.

Al: Yeah. So we are gonna go, we’ve got three amazing guests, so we’ll get straight into it and introduce those guests. The first one is Jill Pritchard, who’s the Director of Vitality at Work at Vitality, and she’s the leader behind the awards.

Jill: So I started off being a pharmacist, but I. Very quickly realized that actually it wasn’t the drugs pathway that I was precious about.

So when I was offered a job to come and work for Vitality, to actually take the Vitality program and take it to large organizations as a wellbeing program, that really excited me and I thought, actually, preventive care

Leanne: is the best care. A second guest is Donna Burgess. Donna is head of operations and people at Open Cred.

Who are one of the winners of this year’s award? So I actually

Donna: joined a Credo as a portfolio people portfolio manager. My role now is it’s a hybrid role. The role I do now, it’s half business operations and half people. So it’s quite different from the types of work commonality. Is all around

Al: teams and people.

And finally, let’s go meet Christian Van Stok, who’s the executive Vice President at Rand Europe and one of the researchers behind the survey.

Christian: So I’m, uh, Chris Van Stok. I’m, uh, I have a lofty title. I’m executive Vice President at Rand Europe. Um, but technically I’m really a researcher and I’ve spent my last decade and a half looking at the health of being.

Uh, employees in different workforces.

Al: So let’s just talk quickly about what the difference between the survey and the awards are. So Britain’s healthiest workplace survey that was established to help businesses of all sizes support their employees to be happier, healthier, and more productive. That was founded by Vitality Insurance, we’ve just heard from Jill, and it’s free to take part, although you have to have 20 or more employees, and we’ll go into that in a second.

This survey is gonna give you the deep insight into your employee’s lifestyle, physical and mental. And the effects the pandemic has had on them. It’s gonna give you recommendations to help boost their physical and mental wellbeing. It’s gonna help improve business outcomes like productivity and retention, and it helps you right, execute and measure an effective wellbeing strategy.

So the difference between this and. You are sort of like other types of awards, like, uh, like the Oscars for example, is that no one’s nominated for this. It’s just the people who score highest, the companies who score highest are the actual winners. So Leanne’s gonna take us through what the survey results told us in 2022.

Leanne: Yes, I am. And I think it is really cool what, what you said, al these awards. Are given out based on how employees are thinking, feeling, um, and talking about their own organization. So there really is a lot of authenticity and integrity. What it also means is that it gives us some really great insights into the state of work in 2022.

Yes, this is UK centric, but I’m sure when I start to give you some little snippets, you’ll have seen these statistics in other parts of the world as well. I’m not gonna go through them all, but we will leave a link to, um, the website and also to an article by the financial time as it goes into much more detail.

But just a, a few insights to, to share with you, which are I think are really interesting. First of all, we know that businesses are losing thousands of hours each year, so productivity has been dropping steadily since 2014, and it’s estimated that businesses lose over a month each year. Per employee.

That’s quite a shocking. That really is, isn’t it? Yeah. So in 2022, employees lost about 20% of working hours. So if you’ve got full-time employees that working five days a week, that’s an entire day, they might as well just not even be there. That’s a case for a four day work regret there, isn’t it? Which is a,

Al: which is another podcast for another day.

Leanne: Yes, it is. So what about hybrid work? We’ve learned that hybrid workers are thriving, and this is a finding that was also reflected in the state of workplace burnout 2023 report that we talked about a couple of episodes ago. So the pandemic changed everything. Hybrid working is becoming a new normal for many of us.

What’s interesting? The survey found that hybrid employees have the lowest loss of productive days. They’re also more active and have better diets than office employees. And it also looks as though hybrid workers have better mental health than non-hybrid workers. So to give you some more indication, about 9% of hybrid workers suffered from depression while only 1.4% feel its stress from their home.

Interferes with their work life. We’ve got some

Al: episodes coming up around about Gen Z, millennials, um, and all the differences in working. So how does it affect the younger people?

Leanne: Well, what the survey found, again similar to results we, we saw in the burnout report, younger employees are, are struggling to adapt to the workplace findings suggested that they’re less likely to report a good work-life balance, are more likely to burn out.

And as you’ll remember, that was a really surprising. Statistic we found in the 2023 State of Workplace burnout report. There are also, uh, younger employees are more like to suffer from depression and have financial concerns. And again, linking it back to productivity, we’re finding that employees under the age of 35 lose 12.5 more productive days per year than their older colleagues, which is one more

Al: a month, isn’t it?

Mm-hmm. . Yeah, it’s quite a lot. So finally, a lot of organizations seem to have put, put some kind of support in place. But how are, how are employees finding that?

Leanne: I think this is what, what I found one of the most interesting insights from, from the survey. You’re absolutely right. And I think particularly as well during the, the pandemic we saw in employees put in a lot more, um, support and, and health interventions for their employees.

What we found is that organizations actually offer about 45 health interventions in average fridge. That can be both staying active, eating well, um, and supporting mental wellbeing. But what we also found is that only 61% of employees know about the support available. So there’s almost, you know, there’s 40% of our employees that don’t even know what these interventions are that aren’t even accessing the support that’s available to them.

And on the flip side, 85% of employees. Do access these interventions, say their health improves when they use them. So I think that’s a really important insight in this, and I think Christian will talk about this a bit more as well. It’s not always about doing more, it’s about doing better. So let’s go

Al: and join Jill and Christian as they explain the basis behind the awards.

Remember, Jill is from Vitality, which is the company that produces the awards, and then Christian is the researcher behind the actual.

Leanne: Britain’s healthiest

Jill: workplace. It started off in 2012, and it was there, I would say more predominantly as an award ceremony. So we were going out to find out actually what can organizations do to really support the health of their people?

Go find out, let’s, let’s announce who is, who is the healthiest workplace in the uk. And as part of determining that, we ask a very broad set of questions from the environment, the culture, the services they offer. Right through then to the actual health of the people. How is that environment helping the health of the people and then taking that to the next stage of, well, actually, how does that affect their performance?

So are people productive? Are they engaged?

Christian: And another, uh, initiative is the Britain’s healthiest workplace, um, which is an initiative that’s, um, you know, is, is, is done with. Vitality at the University of Cambridge Financial Times. Um, we started that really in earnest in 2013, and we’ve been running that ever since, uh, together.

And it has given us some, us some fantastic insights into, uh, you know, into of health and wellbeing of, uh, of, of, of, uh, of workplaces and employees within those workplaces. So

Al: let’s answer the question that everyone’s asking, who actually won?

Leanne: Yeah, so November, 2022 is when the winners were announced, and they have three different categories for three organizational sizes.

First up is the smaller business, which is 20 to 249 employees. First place was Open Credo where our guest Donna, um, is from second was Blue Motor Finance, and in the. Was Phoenix Natural Gas. We then have the medium business category that’s 250 to 999 employees. First place in that category was Novo Nordis, who we’re gonna hear a bit more about from, from Jill.

Second place was program Planning Professionals Limited, and third was a C LS group in the large business category. That’s more than a thousand employees. First place went to Noora. Second to Arivva third to Darbyshire Community Health Services, NHS Foundation Trust. Which brings me joy because I used to, I used to do some employee engagement and culture work with the nhs.

That is cool. So

Al: we’ll put these winners in the show notes so you can go and, uh, go and do some research on them if you, if you wanted to. Um, we are obviously gonna hear it from Donovan from Open Credo, which was the winner of the small business category. But I think the question a lot of people, listeners have got right now, What actually is it gonna do for me to A, take the survey, um, and b, if I was nominator or, or winning.

So let’s hear from Jill. In order

Jill: collating all of these results to determine who is the winner, we actually found that actually the most beneficial part of this survey was not actually been awarded, but it was actually the great insight that you’ve got from participating because you start to see the relat.

Between having great leadership or having the right culture or right having the right services that their people are aware of ultimately does improve the health of the people and ultimately does improve the productivity. So I would say now, whilst yes, it is a competition, I would say 90% of organizations that participate are actually doing it to get a true understanding of the health of their work.

Leanne: So clearly a business case there once again for prioritizing wellbeing and healthy workplaces. Let’s hear Donna. So as we said, Donna is head of operations and people at Open Credo who is the winner in the small business category. I think, um,

Jill: it

Donna: has made us realize, really realize the impact of people focus activit.

That can have on, on the workplace

Jill: itself. Um, and

Donna: also that a lot of these things, they sort of, they, they, they almost not happen

Jill: in the background,

Donna: but they’re not always in the forefront of people’s mind that these things are being put in place, like people, you know, support and various benefits and those sorts of things.

Um, and I just think it’s brought it much more to the forefront, uh, for the importa. Really of a wide spectrum of people focused activities. And I’m not talking about just the social things and, and those, but there’s celebrating people’s achievements. We do that as well every month. And also think there’s a focus and also think there’s a focus or us as individuals, as we’ve individually answered the survey, perhaps there’s a focus of like, actually I could do more here, for myself so as well.

So, which is not necessarily what the company can do. So, um, the company can’t help me sleep. But that’s something that I can do myself, you know? So it’s helpful for those,

Jill: those

Leanne: aspects as well. Donna raised a, a really good point there. You know, as business leaders we can’t, we can’t control every aspect of, of a person’s wellbeing or, or health.

Um, there are certain things that we can do and other things that we can help to, to support them. Um, but I think what’s great about what Donna said there is even just making this part of the conversation and raising awareness then helps you feel more, more accountable and more empowered as an individual to start to make some lifestyle changes as.

I think it’s

Al: really worthwhile cuz when you examine something like what gets measured, gets managed, when you examine something, it does make you ask questions. Talking of asking questions, let’s hear from the researcher Christian.

Christian: Um, and what I realized is that, um, very few, um, uh, organizations at the time, Very few academics are really looking at the human factors.

So it’s almost like the human factor was taken out of these systems and we were talking about systems, processes, capacity in abstract terms, and not really thinking about how the human was really at the center of this. And also sometimes we, I guess, um, we, we sort of reduced the human to being in a sort of this rational being economic.

And ultimately what we know, um, Leanne, is that there’s many dimensions to human behavior and there’s a very strong, um, you know, irrational side to it as well to, to human behavior and so on. So really understanding really what’s, um, what’s, how a health and wellbeing of individuals plays into this, I think was really, really quite

Leanne: critical.

Had a really interesting conversation with Christian, and I think one of the things that I really enjoyed hearing about was why, why do we need to examine work behaviors and wellbeing? Here’s

Christian: Christian. The idea was really to look at, uh, certain types of work behaviors and then look at what the health and wellbeing impacts of that work behavior would be.

So for instance, you could say sending emails late in the evening is bad for health and well, Uh, or you get up really early and you start, um, working that is bad for your health and wellbeing, or being an excessive number of meetings during the day might be bad for your health and wellbeing. These were the hypothesis that we were testing as it happens.

Um, in this research. What we showed is that there are really, um, different categories of workers. First of all, that’s important to think about. So, you know, even within an organization there are a variety of different subcultures and these, um, workers typically like to work in slightly different ways. And that’s interesting.

And if you dig below that, uh, there is no real. Uniform, uh, type of work behaviors that leads to, uh, optimal health and wellbeing outcomes. So what this means is really that there’s a high degree of personalization that is required within the workforce. So having a blanket ban on emails after seven or eight in the evening, uh, might seem like a good idea to achieve executive, but ultimately, you probably, um, are, are, are, are sort of impacting negatively and the, you know, a certain group of workers within your organiz.

Leanne: There’s two things I, I took from that. I think the first of, of, you know, why should we measure these behaviors? Our assumptions can be wrong. You know, Christian here is a very experienced scientist and and researcher, and as he said there, they had hypotheses that that turned out not to be true. And I

Al: think and anecdotally that does make sense cuz we all know people who, who send emails at six in the morning.

Um, and you know, some of them, it just works better for them to get all the emails out the way. I mean, there’s so many books on it saying that if you can do all your stuff, like eat that frog and all the other stuff where you do all the stuff in the morning, then you leave the rest of the day for creativity.

Yeah. By saying you can’t send emails at five o’clock in the morning. , that’s, you know, that’s not gonna fit in with everyone’s way of working.

Leanne: Yeah. And, and you know, that’s what what Christian’s found in, in his research, both through this survey and um, into hybrid work, which I’m sure we’ll talk about in another episode.

Um, there are typically kind of four clusters that, that he’s identifying and, and those four clusters of employees. Usually depend on whether they’re an individual contributor or whether they’re a line manager. Uh, it depends on their gender, their age, their years of tenure. Um, and all of these things can, can feed into their preferences in terms of behaviors at at work.

Al: So we now know a little bit more about the actual behavior study and the research. Let’s find out what the judges are actually looking for. Here’s. .

Jill: So we, it’s all calculated, um, quite scientifically, and so it’s not, um, it’s, it’s all data-driven decisions. Um, so initially we look at that environment and so the metrics that we look in there is actually what are the comprehensive nature of the services that are being offered.

Are their employees aware of the services? , are they using them? And most importantly, are they benefiting for them? So are you, are you offering the right things? But actually interventions can just be sticky. Plasters if you don’t necessarily have the culture that allows people to utilize them and feel, you know, it’s okay for me to go for a walk at lunchtime.

So it’s, you know, the interventions are just sticky PLAs unless you get that culture right. So we also look at that culture as how do people feel about that organization and their values? . You know, is it a diverse, inclusive workforce? Are they being supported by their line managers? And so it’s really trying to capture is the workplace the right environment for us to thrive?

So that’s the first measure. The second measure then is a purely a measure of health of those individuals, and we utilize a clinical algorithm that takes both in physical health metrics, but also lifestyle behaviors to give you a health age. And we call it the vitality age, and it’s the gap between someone’s health age.

and their chronological age as we have as a determinant of health. So we look at this vitality age gap overall for an organization to see how is the health of that organization. The final element of that is, is actually what are the outputs? So what of the business outcomes that an organization would be looking for if they’ve got a comprehensive wellbeing strategy.

And that’s where it comes to the productivity, engagement, satisfaction. Um, the fourth module we then look at is actually participation. In order for it to be credible, you’re saying you need a certain proportion of your population participating in the survey. Um, so you’ve reach threshold, allow it to be statistically valid, but then if you go over and above more, you, you more points to, to become overall.


Leanne: This is awesome. So just to, to break down and, and recap what Jill said there in terms of what the judges are looking for, first of all, they are gonna look at, um, the nature of, of services and interventions that are being offered. But the key thing here that Jill says, Interviews can just be sticky clusters if you don’t have the culture that allows people to utilize them, and I think that is massive.

Otherwise, we are throwing money at interventions that people are either aren’t utilizing or aren’t meeting their needs. So think that’s a really great point from from Jill. There. And as part of that culture piece as well, they also look at diversity inclusion and as always the line manager. The second measure then is, as Jill said, around health of, of those individuals.

Um, so that’s lots of questions about physical health, mental health and lifestyle to get their vitality age. The third element is outputs. What are the business outcomes an organization should be looking for? If they have a comprehensive wellbeing strategy, positive wellbeing is good for business. It’s as simple as that.

And in terms of the threshold, what Jill’s saying there, if we have a hundred people in our organization, but only 20, fill out the survey. That’s not gonna meet a threshold. We need to know. That data is scientifically valid. Um, so you are gonna have to get a, a minimum response rate in that, in that survey in terms of percentage of your team.

Al: So we’re now gonna hear from Christian, the researcher behind it. He uses a term, which I didn’t know, and I’m not sure everyone will know of E S G. What does

Leanne: that mean? Leanne? E s G is environmental, social and governance. It’s basically a framework of non-financial factors that helps. Understand it and assess the risks and opportunities, uh, within an organization that aren’t financially related.

Really at the heart of of this is the idea of sustainable business, and I think that’s where Christian is quite right to talk about bringing health into. Into part of that conversation. So let’s

Christian: hear from Christian. There’s hardly ever a winner that, uh, that does not, um, have, uh, health and wellbeing as a key organizational priority.

Um, typically there’s, uh, quite significant engagement with the board around, um, around health and wellbeing. They tend to report on their health wellbeing, um, almost a little bit like an E s G aspect of it, but I would call it E S G H. You know, health is an, is an important dimension of that as well. And I’ve, I’m, I’m actually working, uh, with, um, business for health to bring the h into the e s G debate as well, and I think that’s really important.

Um, line manager’s capacity, they, they tend to invest quite a lot in their line managers in terms of giving them training and upskilling them in terms of, uh, of managing health and wellbeing of staff. And they typically, Um, uh, really well, uh, structured and branded health and wellbeing program as well. Uh, whereby, you know, it’s easy to acc access.

Uh, all employees understand exactly what the employer organization is doing, uh, around this, uh, that they know it’s important.

Al: Okay, so now let’s talk about how you actually apply.

Jill: Here’s Jill. Yeah, so the survey is free of charge for any organization over 20 employees. To be clear, the 20 employees is because we need anonymous data.

And so that’s from a GDPR perspective, and we encourage every sector, as I say, it’s completely free to participate and you the, at the back of it. What we do is we, we analyze that data and give not just your points to go towards the competition, but an incredibly comprehensive review to address how’s your wellbeing strategy, how’s it affecting your people?

How’s it affecting business outcomes? So it doesn’t matter whether you are completely new to wellbeing and you wanna understand the risk factors in your starting point, or the likes of Nevin Nordisk Andora who’ve got a really well established wellbeing strategy and you wanna understand what’s working well and what’s not working

Leanne: well.

The survey is a really great resource, isn, and as Jill said it, it’s free and it’s gonna give you some really great insights into how your, your business is currently managing it. Its wellbeing. Its wellbeing strategy. Jill also mentioned one of the other winners of the. This year, Noone Nordisk, they won the medium size business category.

So we asked Jill, why did Novo win? You look at

Jill: Novo Nordisk and then we’re right up there. So their support that they give their employees is as high for the healthy behaviors as it is when they’re unwell. Which brings me right back to where we started that actually, it’s that preventative care that can ultimately stop people then following on and needing curative care.

And it allows people just to remain engaged and remain productive and, and they’ll get the best outta them. You know, health isn’t just in work. Health is 24 7. But more importantly, because it’s got that culture from the top, the line managers also know the importance of the wellbeing of their people, but also to signpost it really easy.

So get this culture that actually they’ve, they’ve done some really simple things. So for their line managers, if you can’t fit it on one page, you’re offering way too much

Al: just to remind ourselves, if you can’t fit it on one page, you’re offering too much. But as Christians about to tell us, it’s not a silver

Christian: bullet.

So typically there are no silver bullets, um, in this field. So I think it is really about line giving, line managers the capacities, uh, to, to manage their staff. It’s also really about looking after the health and wellbeing of line managers, and I’ll explain, uh, to you what I mean by that in a se in a second.

So it’s really about giving. Myself and other, other managers, the skills to actually do their job properly. And most line managers are, are really not trained to do their jobs. They’re just promoted on the basis of being, having good technical skills, uh, like myself. So I think it’s about un understanding really what we want line managers to do.

On the other hand, line managers are not really immune to poor health and wellbeing. You know, my health and wellbeing fluctuates like anybody else’s. And when my, uh, health and wellbeing is suboptimal, as is the case for, for many line managers when they’re under a lot of pressure, it also reduces their effectiveness in managing the health and wellbeing of their staff.

There are lots of studies that show exactly that. Um, so we also need to look after our line managers and not make him sort of, um, not, not, not overburden them, but all with, with huge responsibility without giving them something in return. So ultimately what we’re talking about, uh, you know, and this always comes down to the same thing, it’s about a cultural shift within organizations really.

Um, which comes from the top

Leanne: down. Christian is, is emphasizing the, the point there that that wellbeing, strategy, culture, and great line managers all go hand in hand and work together to create one of the, the healthiest workplaces and a really important point there as well. The health and wellbeing of our management teams, of our leaders is equally important.

We have to invest in ourselves as much as we invest in our teams. So we’ve heard from the winners in the small and medium business categories, the winner in the large business category that’s more than a thousand employees was noura. So they have actually been part of Britain’s Health’s workplace for the past eight years, and they say the message to our employees is that this is a long-term relationship and in any long-term relationship you have to invest in the people, build them up and prioritize a personal wellbeing development.

And I think that’s just a really cool sentiment to have at the heart of your wellbeing strategy. As employer to employee, let’s invest in this as a long-term relationship. Exactly.

Al: Really, really good stuff there. And it’s all about this idea that it’s down to relationships, adult to adult relationships, everyone being invested in the same thing in a long-term basis.

Speaking of which, what else can we learn from the winners? We asked Jill what they did well. .

Jill: So they treat the wellbeing of their people with the highest priorities they treat profit. And there’s some simple things that organizations can do that cost nothing, that will help that. For example, have you got someone on your board that is responsible and accountable for the wellbeing of your people?

Because unless you’ve got that board accountability, how are you expecting it then to flow down to be important to the lead, the senior leaders? How do you expect it then to flow down to be important to the line managers? And then how do you expect it to flow down to the employees? So you’ve, you’ve got to start at the top.

And the organizations that we’ve done, well, Andora as an example, has always done this, is that they report at board level once a month on their, on the wellbeing of their

Leanne: staff. And it’s just, it keeps it

Jill: as a high priority and it keeps it front of mind. It’s just such a simple thing, but it makes, it makes all of a difference.

Leanne: It is a simple thing and it’s a simple thing that you can put in place now that you could have in, in place in your business at your next board meeting. You know, just having, having that person responsible and accountable for the wellbeing of your people. That’s a really tough question to, to ask yourself, honestly, as a business.

Do you put people before profit? It’s a hard question to answer, and if you are not sure, then I’d. Maybe get somebody on the board who, who could answer that question for you 100%.

Al: And we’re gonna hear more about why it’s important to come from the top in a second. Before that, let’s go back to Donna, one of the winners, and we’re gonna ask her, were there any surprises in the survey or the awards?

Yeah, I think,

Jill: um, we

Donna: weren’t fully sure of the spectrum that was going to be covered, so that, that was quite revealing. So to us, and it was like, oh, how does this fit with. So there was that, those sorts of moments for me. So it was quite, so, it was quite broad. It was quite broad. So yeah, it was interesting

Leanne: in that perspective.

Again, I think that’s a really cool thing about, about the, the survey and the awards they do cover, um, a large spectrum of, of what it means to create a health. The workplace, and as I mentioned at the top there, it’s the survey that sits behind the awards. And the survey has really given us some valuable insights that we can all use to better understand our business and the health and wellbeing of our employees.

We asked Jill a little bit more about the survey, um, and the trends that she observed in the data. So the survey

Jill: data, I mean, there’s a definite trend that the health of the UK workforce is worsening. And I, I think we predicted that, but actually to, to, to get that stark data, particularly looking at mental health and obesity.

There was, it was always a trend that it was worsening, but actually it’s shifted, shifted up now. Um, and the same with burnout and fatigue, you know, over a quarter of our workforce and our reporting that, and. That’s, that’s a concern, but it’s also when we link then that to the productivity and the engagement of those people that are suffering, it’s significantly worse.

And that’s what I want the survey data to be used is actually there’s this opportunity to say, do you know what? There’s a business case for wellbeing because actually if we can really put effort in an investor making. Are people healthier? We gain, as a business we, we get more productive people, we get more engaged people, and they’re less likely

Leanne: to leave us.

I think this is a really worrying pattern we’re seeing in the data that that’s coming out. Burnout is becoming a significant problem. Bloom. We know from our burnout episodes it was estimated, you know, up to half of the workforce are experiencing burnout. The vitality survey has suggested it’s about quarter, about 25%.

Um, so I’m sure you know the, the number lies between those two points. If you are worried about. Burnout. Um, do please go back and, and listen to, to the episodes that, that we did on, on that. There’s some really great advice in there both for your own health and wellbeing and for that of your team. So we also

Al: asked Christian was there anything interesting coming out of the results that he saw?

Christian: But I’ll give you one example of a a piece of work. We did a bit, a pharmaceutical company. They were interested in called something called Victoria, which might not mean very much to you, but Victoria is something quite familiar to many of us because it’s when we get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and they wanted to understand how getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom impacted people’s, um, you know, um, working lives.

Um, so, so my view was on that was that well, look, um, as you get older, obviously you’re more likely to go to the bathroom and night and so on. And my, my, my feeling is that you probably fall asleep relatively quickly afterwards. So the impact would be relatively. Right. Um, and by doing a study, and, and again we use some, some of the vitality data to do so, um, what we actually established is it has quite a significant impact.

So even very small things. And, and that comes back to the point I was making about our circadian rhythms, about bims, very small disruptions to that routine has quite a very significant impact and much more so than I thought.

Al: So let’s get down to the money. How does concentrating on wellbeing actually help us as business owners?

This is what Christian had to say. It, it depends.

Christian: I mean, um, you know, there are studies that show, uh, the link between health and wellbeing and for instance, share prices. So you, you could see, I mean, that’s kind of a very fundamental aspect if you’re publicly listed company, that all you know that, that there is a, an association between the two.

Um, And so for instance, there is, uh, some really good evidence on the link between staff engagement and rogue behavior. So let’s say if you’re a financial services firm and you’re really worried about rogue behavior, which leads to, you know, compliance issues and maybe fines from the regulator, there’s some really good, uh, work that shows that more engaged staffs, and typically those are staff with better health and wellbeing also show less rogue.

Um, so, so that’s why financial services companies might be interested in it. Um, and that has a direct impact in terms of their fines on their bottom line. I mentioned the nhs, um, you know, around, uh, the links between health and wellbeing, quality of care, uh, hospital acquired infections, mortality risks. I mean, I could keep going.

Uh, financial surplus interest, not that that exists any longer, but let’s say, uh, we were tracking that a few years ago. You know, deep-rooted organizational outcomes. Um, so, um, e e even to the point where as you’re working with, um, let’s say an automotive, um, Um, uh, company, uh, that produces cars, uh, where they could see material differences in terms of, um, you know, uh, productivity on the assembly line, for instance.

Leanne: Yeah. It’s really interesting how we, how we think and feel really does impact our, our behavior. And I think an interesting example that, that Christian gave there for me was the, the relationship between employee engagement and rogue behaviors. Mm-hmm. , I think that, you know, that makes sense. If we think about what we know about employee engage.

We know that the employees who are engaged typically feel more psychologically safe and have better relationships with their line managers. So in terms of reporting errors, we also know in psychologically safe teams, more errors are reported. That’s not to say they make more errors, they report more errors, there’s more transparency around what’s actually going on the business.

So therefore, you know, creating an environment where these, these rogue behaviors are gonna be far reduced, I think just, just makes sense.

Al: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, you, like we talk about the Nick Leason, who’s, God that must be like 25 years ago. Nick Leason, I can’t remember which company, but he was the g they did a a, um, a film or a movie around him and basically he was the one, the rogue trader, um, who lost thousands, millions.

I dunno how much he lost. He was an awful lot of money. Um, just because he made a mistake and then tried to cover it up and then couldn’t go and tell people he’d made the mistakes, he kept tr trying to trade out of his losses. Um, so yeah, it does make a lot of sense. And if you’re not a financial company, if you’re a creative agency, um, Jen, then just the idea of someone turning up at work, feeling healthy, feeling energized, feeling engaged in the work they’re gonna do, that’s gonna make such a difference to the quality of work you create and also the productivity.

And the

Leanne: happiness of your customers? Oh yeah,

Al: definitely. Definitely. So we asked all three guests what they thought the cornerstones of wellbeing were. Should we start with Jill? Yes.

Jill: Authenticity is, and what I mean by that is actually I do actually care. So, I’m not putting a sticky plaster on it. I’m not saying that I’m gonna recruit a wellbeing manager because that’s the right thing to do.

I actually truly understand the importance and the value that I’ll bring, not only to my workforce, but actually to me as a business owner. I truly understand that there is a, there is a relationship there and now that actually there’s

Leanne: this shared value concept. This isn’t fluff people.

Christian: There are a number of trends to be aware of in a sense, but I think the trends that stick out the most is, uh, worsening mental health over a long period of time.

Now, now you might highlight the pandemic period and you say, well, look, of course, the pandemic period arrived and that, that, that put a lot of pressure on individuals and maybe the cost of living crisis will do the same as as as we speak. Uh, but the reality is that our, the mental health of our workforce has been getting worse and we using the same exact measurements year on.

Leanne: The other great thing about about the survey is it, it’s a longitudinal study. This has been going for 10 plus years now. Um, so yeah, it, it might be easier as a, as a business owner or even a, you know, a political leader to, to blame the, the pandemic for the, the worsening state of, of physical and mental health in our workplaces.

But as Christian says there, the longitudinal data shows us that mental health in our workforce has been getting worse for more than a decade. So finally,

Al: let’s hear from.

Leanne: The

Donna: commonality is all around teams and people. So whether if you’re project manager, you’re still working with, you know, a team of people working towards a goal in a company, goals

day is different. But the essence of people and moving forward and

Jill: reaching

Leanne: goals is the same. So to recap there the cornerstones, Jill promotes authenticity, leadership’s really understanding there is a value to wellbeing. Christian’s point there, mental health in the workplace is getting worse. If we don’t act now, we could be in real trouble in a couple of years time.

And Donna is all about people. I think it’s clear to see why Donna and Oprah credo absolutely smashed it this year and quite deservedly won the small business category.

Al: Definitely, definitely. And so let’s move on to the business case for wellbeing. So this is for our final push to you to say this. As Leanne said, this isn’t fluff, this isn’t, oh, it’s nice to have.

This isn’t, oh, it’s for big companies. There is an actual business case for wellbeing as Christian explain. Well,

Christian: um, the, the initial impact was really, um, uh, around building a business case for health and wellbeing in workplaces. So try to get information together to show that the, um, health and wellbeing of employees is linked to a variety of different business outcomes.

So if you improve the, uh, health and wellbeing of employees, you also improve. Improve those business outcomes. But actually over time, what we’ve found is that the initiative itself has become an intervention as well. So those organizations that are participating within it to get a lot out of it and start, uh, and start on an improvement journey themselves, um, they, they’re benchmarking themselves against each other.

Um, and that in by itself leads to improvement in those workplaces. So I think it’s fair to say that, um, from a researcher, um, point of view, uh, initially I thought this would be interesting in terms of collecting data and starting to make that business case. But ultimately, interve intervention itself.

The initiative such as, you know, the surveys that we do and the reports that we, that we give to the, um, uh, participants in the, um, in the competition, uh, that in and by itself was driving improvement as well.

Leanne: Yeah. And, and we see that in other areas of, um, research as well. With employee engagement, with wellbeing, any kind of, I guess, employee voice initiative, we see a boost in morale, uh, which in turn tends to give us a little uptick in, in employee engagement and wellbeing.

Just showing that we care is often a really good place to. I think Jill from

Al: Vitality summed it up perfectly from an

Jill: employer. I benefit because I’ve got a more engaged workforce. They produce better outcomes,

Leanne: they’re more productive. Summed it up perfectly. I, I think they’re Jill. Wellness isn’t just a gesture.

It’s much more than that. So we asked Donna, what do you think wellbeing is? I reme, I

Donna: think that it is remembering that we

Jill: are all humans. Most, you know,

Donna: we have to remember our humanness. I think that’s the most important thing because you can have all the bells and whistles, you can have all of these, you can have the ping pong tables, all those sorts of things.

But they’re very, they can be very superficial if you haven’t got the fundamental understanding of our humanness and our connectiveness and our, um, and community and the fact that we actually humans need each other. As well. So, and the importance of collaboration and those sorts of things. So I think from that springs a whole bunch of other things.

So, um, and that isn’t to the detriment of, you know, forgetting that we have to deliver to clients, but they are also people. So it’s people delivering two people. So for me, that’s my personal, personal philosophy is around remembering the humans of us all first

Al: and foremost. So just like redesigning your logo doesn’t automatically give you a new brand.

Putting a ping pong table in the break room doesn’t automatically give you wellness and wellbeing.

Leanne: Very nice, very well said. A really great sentiment from from Donna there. And again, I think just that, that authenticity shines through. So let’s say that you are convinced you understand the business case for having a healthy workplace.

You’re excited about this data and Britain’s healthiest workplace awards. Where do we start? Let’s hear from Christian.

Christian: Ultimately, my, my approach has always been is to try to outline the improvement journeys, uh, try to do the benchmarking, try to make organizations understand how they could improve, uh, in, in, in this space.

And, and there are organizations, uh, in the life cycle of Britain, Southeast workplace that have improved greatly as well, you know, in terms of how they do it. So all of this is possible. It just, it just about making it an organizational priority, I guess, to some extent. Uh, and then, Um, you know, that would be where I think the, the key, uh, aspect of all of this comes in.

The key message of all of this comes in is that if you make an organizational priority, in all likelihood, your business outcomes and your organizational outcomes will improve as well. So that’s, that’s the logic that I see everywhere where I’ve worked.

Leanne: A great step one from Christian that commit to health and wellbeing being a priority at board level.

What’s next? We ask Donna?

Donna: Um, you have to start with understanding the current l. There’s there, in my opinion, there’s no, there’s no point rolling out a whole bunch of initiatives if you don’t understand what’s currently going on. When I joined Open Credo, I did one-to-one interviews with every single person in the company, so, and I asked them about their experiences, what the things they like, they didn’t like, and that helped me surface some patterns.

So again, patterns, , so about what was going on in the organization, um, what was going on for some individuals, what was going on a bit more collectively. So I think the most important thing is understand the landscape. I personally don’t think it’s helpful if you’re a new person going into an organization particularly that the whole new broom, you just sweep away everything that exists.

I think it’s really, really important to understand. What exists first before applying any

Jill: changes?

Leanne: If you are a regular listener, I think you’ll, you’ll be starting to see some people and culture themes coming up here. You know, Donna made a really great point there. Before we can plot out where we want to get to, we need to start by understanding exactly where we are, what’s working, where can we improve, and we do that by asking employees, by using employee voice.

Al: As Christian reminds us, this isn’t just for the massive companies and also

Christian: don’t think that’s, um, because you’re a small employer, you cannot match what large employers are doing. To some extent that’s true, but you don’t need 60 interventions. You know, you, you, you know, you, you, you know, to, to, to make material difference in this.


Leanne: you know, going back to the insights we, we saw before. You know, typically only 60% of your employees are aware of the interventions that are in place already. So adding more and more isn’t really gonna do much to improve the health and wellbeing of your teams. You’re better investing your time in, in raising awareness and making sure that your people understand the support that is already in place.

As a small business, that is a really great opportunity. So

Al: we talked before about how the importance of board level buy-in, this has to come from the top. This can’t just be, as we said before, sticking a ping bong table in the break room. This is really, really important that everyone or from the top to the bottom believes that this is gonna make a big difference.

Here’s Donna.

Donna: Yeah, absolutely. The directors, the company directors are. Open to a lot of the people focus ideas that come their way. So I’m part of the leadership team, so I have, I have that access as well. So, and I’m part on the board as well. So, um, I can take these things to that audience as well. Um, and our parent company, this, what this award has done is it’s also helped our parent company understand the importance of what we.

Within our organization

Jill: from

Leanne: the people side of things, as I mentioned before, the first thing you can do, a really easy thing you can do is make sure that you have somebody on your board, on your senior leadership team who represents wellbeing.

Al: So Christian explains you actually also need to be realistic.

Christian: So I think as an employer you need to be, uh, realistic in terms of what you can achieve, uh, in, in terms of that space. So I think in terms of, um, the health and wellbeing of, uh, of employees, and of course the mental health, uh, factor there, uh, is really in terms of. Uh, you know, I would say arresting that decline and maybe reversing some of that, you know, year on year.

Um, and that’s, um, you know, you know, it can mean a multitude of interventions, of course, that you, that you, um, that you want to use. Um, but also I think, uh, to some extent requires a cultural shift. I mean, we, we. We spoke about personalization in the workplace and and flexible working and these kind of a aspects of it.

I think that’s quite fundamental to it, I think, um, in, in terms of not forcing individuals who prefer to work in a certain way to work in another way. If

Leanne: you listen to last week’s episode on employer brand, we shared statistic with you that a lot of businesses don’t feel that they have the resources to build out a really great employer brand.

What Christian is saying there is mirroring the same sentiment and conclusion that we came to, you know, employer brand is actually about culture. As wellbeing is as much about culture. You don’t have to have all these fancy interventions that they’re the same as large organizations. Focusing on the culture within your business and the culture shift required to nurture the health and wellbeing of your, your employees could be

Al: huge.

So this culture shift, it means coming. We’ve learned that it needs to come from the top. We need to all be in it together. So just going and investing in engagement survey isn’t enough or worse. Just creating your own on Survey Monkey and and Hope and hoping that it’s gonna fix things. It’s not enough just to have an engagement survey as Christian

Christian: explains.

What I would say is that most organizations nowadays do an engagement survey, um, you know, staff engagement survey. I would, uh, look at that engagement survey quite carefully. It’s often an off shelf product that they, that they buy off somebody. I would look at that very carefully and I would, um, I would, um, you know, add, uh, a number of, um, you know, uh, health and wellbeing questions within that survey, and that’s really probably gives you a little bit of a baseline of what you’re.

What, what’s happening already in your workplace and then you can sort of track that over time. Um, so clearly collecting data is quite important, so we haven’t

Al: paid Christian to say this, but essentially our own engagement wellbeing survey, the RX seven is exactly what he’s just described there. It’s not just a sort of employee net promoter score.

It is, it looks deep into the health and wellbeing of all of your employees and then tracks it over a period of time so you can see how well you are doing and how you are

Leanne: improv. Yes, and, and as well, you know, in a similar way to, um, the Vitality Survey, it’s also about linking health and wellbeing with the, the thoughts and feelings your employees have about your business and how they translate into commercial outcomes.

So whether you are using the Britain’s Healthies Workplace survey or the RX seven or something else, just make sure you’re getting the insights you need to make impactful differences within your


Al: So hopefully at this point, you’ve heard from the winners, you’ve heard why it’s good to run the survey.

You’ve heard from the researcher behind it, you’ve heard from Jill from Vitality, um, who, who has the health insurance company. Um, so you’ve, you’ve got this business case for doing a survey, but also you understand the fundamentals behind the survey and why it’s actually going

Leanne: to work. Yeah, Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Survey.

Um, and the awards, as I, as I’ve said before, and I think we’ve all all learnt together now, there is a lot of authenticity and integrity behind these awards. Uh, and the data is not only selecting our winners, it is also giving us some really crucial insight into the state of the workplace. Vitality is an awesome organization that has been working on this program for over 10 years, so let’s hear a little bit more from Jill and what she does at Vitality.

Yeah, sure. So people

Jill: will have heard of Vitality as, um, an insurance company. Um, it started 30 years ago back in, in, in South Africa. That’s where it started. And actually just a few guys got together went, do you know what? Let’s disrupt the insurance world. So rather than calculating premium based upon risk, they said, what if we could change that risk profile?

Actually, that’s better for us as an insurer because actually we’ll have to pay out less. If people are ill, they’ll get better quicker. And then actually that’s good for society. So it’s that shared value concept that I spoke about. But actually rather than employer, it’s about insurer. So make members healthier.

It’s better for the insurer, it’s better for society. And over the last 30 years, vitality have created, um, this program based on behavioral psychology and behavioral change to help our members live healthier lives. And this has taken 30 years and it’s grown, but essentially it’s a digital incentive based wellbeing program, which.

Helps people understand their health, helps them improve their health, and then rewards

Leanne: them for doing so, a really innovative company that genuinely care about the health and wellness of us, our teams, and of course our businesses. We will leave all the links in the show notes, including links to our guests today so you can connect with them through LinkedIn and other socials.

We’ll also leave links to Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Survey and Awards. So if you want to take part, you’ll have all the information you need to do that. And anything else we need to include there? Al? Oh, I also said I would include the, um, link to the full insights report. Yes. Uh, should you want to dive into that?

Al: so if you look at the show notes, you’ll see the link to that particular episode. Or if you haven’t got the show notes for whatever reason, just go to Truth Lies and and you’ll see the go to episodes and you’ll see it up there on the latest episode. Don’t forget, we’ll be continuous con discussion on LinkedIn and we’ll leave a link to that LinkedIn post in the show notes.

Leanne: We will congratulations to all the winners of Britain’s healthiest workplace. You are awesome. We are inspired by you. Keep doing great work, and

Al: thank you to Jill, Donna, and Christian for taking the time out and talking to us and giving us their great insights. So we’ll see you next

Leanne: week. We will see you soon.

Al: Bye-bye.

Like this?

Join 112,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!


💬 Want a chat about your workplace culture?

📣 Got feedback/questions/guest suggestions? Email

👍 Like this kinda stuff? Click here to subscribe…