Security providers review Health and Wellbeing
The pandemic impacted everyone’s health and wellbeing and is an area of increasing focus. We asked a number of security organisations to provide an overview of their approach to supporting their colleagues through the pandemic and beyond.
Andy Kynoch, Managing Director ICTS UK & Ireland
For over 30 years now ICTS has encouraged a family work spirit across our entire organisation, irrespective of title, and that ethos continues to work well for us all as we navigate our way through and out of the pandemic.
As the virus began to take hold, and increasingly more and more of our staff were furloughed, our executive team met twice a week for COVID updates. A thrice-weekly register was designed and reviewed at each meeting, detailing those of our teams who had COVID or COVID-related symptoms and what their status was and if the family needed help in any way. Special phone numbers and email addresses were published for our staff to make contact should they have concerns about any issue at all which had arisen from the pandemic and the furlough scheme. Home visits were undertaken frequently to ensure everyone was ok and doing well.
Like most companies, we have a robust and thorough Employee Assistance Programme. But we have gone further and partnered with a number of organisations to benefit our ICTS family in times of trouble.
In collaboration with Bristol Airport, we created a team of Mental Health First Aiders and the first course was completed in June of this year. These employees have become members of Bristol Airport’s Wellbeing and Mental Health Stack Group.
Our Mental Health First Aiders actively support and engage with colleagues who they know have mental health challenges. In addition, they are also part of our Wellbeing Wednesday initiative, a weekly opportunity to provide guidance, support and resources in a variety of areas.
We have also supported Mental Health Awareness Week by organising two walks and also a Dementia fundraiser.
At the end of 2020, we signed up to the Hidden Disability Sunflower Scheme and all employees have taken the online introductory lesson regarding this important cause. All are aware of the significance of the Sunflower Lanyard whether the wearer is a fellow colleague or customer.
A healthy family is a physically fit family and where possible we encourage and share information on physical exercise and the wellbeing that it creates for the employee. Additionally, we shared information regarding the NHS healthy eating programme.
Looking ahead, we have numerous wellbeing and health-related walks and meetings already in the calendar.
Cadence Woodland, Head of Communications Wilson James
It feels perverse to find good in the COVID situation, especially as we are certainly not out of it yet. But I do think a positive outcome has been a much broader and more complex view on employee wellbeing. Over the past year we’ve had dramatic changes to operational requirements. It was important to us that we provide employee support regardless of operational status and this looked very different for different audiences.
In Wilson James, we have invested in wellbeing resources at every level of the organisation, recognising that different groups of colleagues needed different kinds of support. Our furloughed employees’ needs were fundamentally different to those of employees manning public spaces during a health crisis; our aviation partners were affected in very different ways to our construction ones. A resilience plan that didn’t recognise this reality was of no use to us.
Our Employee Assistance programme provides confidential assistance, including counselling and financial guidance, while bespoke social platforms became important ways of keeping colleagues and friends connected and updated. And we deployed a new, permanent wellbeing programme with regular content and events that covered everything from yoga and children’s events to cybersecurity and media awareness. And Wilson James is not alone in such efforts. I hope that other organisations and industries maintain this broader approach to wellbeing when things return to “normal”, because there is no one-size-fits-all solution to diverse employee circumstances and needs. If we truly wish to be a diverse and inclusive industry, our wellbeing efforts need to match.
We are looking to harness the lessons of the pandemic when it comes to becoming a more truly inclusive organisation that attracts the talent of the future, and is resilient not just to the changing times we live in, but future shocks as well.
Sarah Hayes, HR Director Securitas UK
Security officers across the country have been at the heart of the UK’s response to the global pandemic. They were on the front line right from day one, keeping businesses, local communities and the wider general public safe.
We shared regular COVID-19 updates to all our officers through a variety of channels, which included emails, our employee portal and dedicated Workplace groups. We set up a telephone and email helpline, published frequently asked questions, targeted comms to team members who were furloughed and made sure that all homeworkers regularly completed assessments to make sure their home workplace was a safe and healthy place to work. We provided hand sanitisers and appropriate PPE to officers working at client sites across the UK and face masks to everyone.
The health and wellbeing of our teams has been even more important given the challenges we have all faced living with COVID-19. Our Mental Health Awareness week, Wellbeing Week, our confidential employee assistance helpline ‘We Care’ and our new online platform ‘Whitecalm’ have all been essential elements of the toolkit to help keep our people healthy and safe.
We’ve also acknowledged the commitment and hard work of our officers – the unsung heroes of the global pandemic – through our employee recognition programme, Community Awards 2021, whilst it has also been extremely important to honour the service of colleagues who are sadly no longer with us.
And this summer Securitas is sponsoring Gratitude, a public art installation celebrating and honouring the work of key workers across the UK. In particular, we want to recognise the significant contribution of security officers working on the front line in the security industry – a hugely important initiative from a mental health and wellbeing perspective.