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Published: 20 Jun 2023

Bank of Ireland – Winner 2023, Best for Mental Health & Wellbeing sponsored by Investors in People

The Bank of Ireland have implemented a pioneering strategy that promotes wellbeing through a range of support as well as reducing stigma and normalising conversations around mental health.  

Innovative approach  

The cornerstone of the wellbeing strategy is ‘Powerdown and Recharge’, which encourages employees to switch off and refuel during and after the working day in order to lead better balanced lives. Underpinning this is work in four areas – Wellbeing, Workspace, Working Day and Workload. Since its launch, the Change Your Mind campaign and wellbeing strategy has evolved and become embedded in the day-to-day. There is a structured approach to supporting mental health, with regular conversations around wellbeing built into a quarterly ‘thrive’ meetings. All employees are offered an individual mental health assessment available from day 1. 

Far-reaching support 

There is a breaking down of stigma through different methods. Storytelling and role modelling is central, as is a ‘Show We Care’ conference. Having a Senior Executive Sponsor ensures there is a trickle-down effect, which is supported by training for line managers. A calendar of activities helps people to be recognised as a whole, such as awareness days, grandparents day, International Women’s day, and Diwali. An app and social media channels promote a wide-ranging calendar of activities that promote wellbeing including art classes, yoga, gym pass, choirs, workshops on decluttering and gardening, desk to 5k, mindfulness, nutrition advice, cooking and singing classes.  

There is an acknowledgement that wellbeing doesn’t sit in isolation, and there are a number of measures which tackle possible causes of stress. Financial wellbeing is prioritised with cost-of-living payments and an ongoing review of benefits. There is also a focus on health to drive conversation and learning with live sessions, podcasts, 1-2-1 consultations and a network of employee volunteers. 

Progressive policies 

The launch of the enhanced ‘Family Matters’ policies ensures employees are supported through different life events and important milestones, including enhanced maternity of 52 weeks with 26 weeks fully paid, and 10 days per year additional menopause leave, as well as a dedicated Domestic Abuse policy. Hybrid working enables flexibility and empowers employees at different life stages. Flexible boundaries are agreed within each individual team. Workspace flexibility and investment in enhanced technology enables individuals to work in a way that suits them. Wellbeing metrics such as mental-health-related absences, overtime hours worked within thresholds, engagement in wellbeing initiatives and time spent on wellbeing app both measure success and encourage further progression. 

Graphic for the Best for mental health & wellbeing category of the Working Families Best practice Awards