The Make a Difference Awards returned with a vengeance at this year’s The Watercooler Event for two knowledge-packed days at Excel London. The awards run in association with The Watercooler Event and the Evening Standard, celebrate the employers and employees that are leading the way in workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing.
As Jonny Jacobs, Financial Director at Starbucks – Award winner of the category of ‘True Leader’ – commented during the Awards ceremony:
“The energy here is absolutely brilliant, the movement, you can just feel what is happening here”.
Similarly, Javier Echave, Chief Finance Officer, Heathrow Airport, who was highly commended in the ‘True Leader’ category, urged the audience in his session on redefining success to:
“Join our movement! Join the revolution!”
Indeed, the Awards shone a spotlight on the key themes that really matter in the industry at the moment, as well as what makes a wellbeing winner, in terms of both individuals and organisations.
Winners announced this week at The Watercooler, include:
- Medivet for its work to combat vet burnout
- Atom Bank for its determination to do banking differently with 4 Day Week
- RSPCA for helping its employees deal with trauma situations
- HSBC for its mindfulness training to give banking brains a break
- Ann Summers for continuing the legacy of late CEO Jacqueline Gold CBE in talking openly at work about periods, the menopause, fertility and domestic abuse
- Aldi for its efforts to support colleagues, whatever their circumstance, from store operations to logistics, supply chain to human resources.
‘Unsung heroes/heroines’ and ‘True leaders’ were also honoured, as were employers voted by the public
- Employee who has made the most difference: James Jackson, Wellbeing Programme Lead, NHS South, Central & West Commissioning Support Unit
- Employers which have made the most difference: Village Hotels (more than 500 employees) and Royal Albert Hall (less than 500 employees)
Categories honoured include employers which:
Effectively support Women’s Health; best integrate Diversity Equity and Inclusion with wellbeing; best create a culture of Psychological Safety; best support of Financial Wellbeing; and best support Line Managers in this new world of employee wellbeing being prioritised.
The fact that award entries have doubled since their inaugural year in 2021, proves how important the issue of employee mental health and wellbeing is to companies.
Business in the Community’s ground-breaking report released this week, “Prioritise People: Unlock the Value of a Thriving Workforce”, developed in partnership with McKinsey Health Institute, shows that supporting employees to thrive could boost the UK economy by up to £130 – £370 billion in total which translates into £4,000 – £12,000 per UK employee.
Claire Farrow, Global Head of Content, Make A Difference said:
“The vast range of entries was particularly striking. From champions networks and individuals pushing forward this agenda at a grassroots level, right through to multinational companies. The judges were very impressed by all the entries, but the ones that really stood out are those that demonstrate a sustainable and measurable commitment to proactive, preventative and inclusive support of workplace wellbeing as well as collaboration across an organisation”.
Charles Alberts, Awards Judge and Global Head of Wellbeing & People Experience at law firm Clifford Chance, said:
“Awards are such a good way to benchmark what you do, get inspired to push the boundaries, and be recognised for all the hard work that goes into improving the world of work for our people”.
Rich Mead, COO & CFO of Award partners, The Evening Standard said:
“Looking at the bigger picture, it’s great to see the work of the NHS being applauded in multiple nominations. It’s also clear that, moving forward, progressive employers are recognising the significant role that they have to play taking a proactive and preventative approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of their people.”