Supporting your employees

The Employee Assistance Programme

Warwickshire County Council are offering the Employee Assistance Programme for freee to any businesses employing 50 employees or less and businesses employing up to 100 in the hospitality sector operating in Warwickshire. The service offered by EAP provider, Vita Health Group, is completely confidential - even if your business has just two employees, total confidentiality will be maintained. They offer a range of services which covers both personal home life issues as well as problems at work.

Whatever your issue or concern, the EAP will be able to offer some support, whether it be debt advice, probate queries, or issues with landlords, to just having someone to chat and offload to after a difficult day. The programme will offer structured mental health support if it is needed. It is very important to be proactive when it comes to your mental health and wellbeing. Prevention is often quicker and easier than finding a cure and needing time to recover if you become unwell. This is a difficult time for everyone but taking care of your wellbeing and reaching out for support may make it a little bit easier.

How it works

Eligible businesses can register their interest in this free service with no obligation to actually use the programme.

Regular 1-1 catch ups

  • Scheduling in regular 1-1 catch ups with employees gives them a dedicated time to be able to talk to you about anything that might be troubling them, make sure you don’t just focus on work and ask them how their weekend was and most importantly how they are feeling. In different organisations there are different virtual ways to catch up – for some it is phone calls, others team calls – so making sure the catch up happens is great but if you can schedule a video call this helps create a ‘more life like’ feel to the communication.

Broadcasts or updates from senior management

  • Across the council we have had broadcasts at least once every 2 weeks to ensure employees are up to date with any news across the council but also to give employees an opportunity to ask their senior management questions. Throughout the pandemic this has proved popular with our employees, particularly in allowing them to feel supported and in knowing senior management are taking time out to make sure they are okay. It also makes employees feel a little better when an Assistant Director has internet issues, or the Director has his son run in during the meeting – we are all human and these updates help bring us all together!

Listening mates

  • Here at the Council we have a scheme called ‘Listening Mates’. The purpose of Listening Mates is to listen to colleagues, signposting where necessary to further sources of help and information. Colleagues can talk to Listening Mates about any issue which is affecting them at work, whether it is a work or a personal issue. In particular, Listening Mates can provide support with concerns about bullying and harassment and mental health.
  • Listening Mates are volunteers who are trained, given guidance on how to talk to others struggling, how to listen and where to signpost them to in various situations

Regular team catch ups

  • Scheduling regular team catch ups can boost morale and not just to talk about work (although that can be useful too!), some ideas might be:
    • Coffee & a chat
    • Quizzes
    • Taking it in turns to talk about a topic that interests you
    • Lunch – make your virtual catch up into a lunch where you can eat and have a catch up
    • Daily or weekly creative challenges for your team – examples are photos of your walks, theme doodles, themed dress days, quizzes, question of the day

Create a forum

  • Creating a forum can give employees their own platform to discuss hobbies, interests, news and anything they want. Here at the council we use a platform called ‘Yammer’ and there are always various conversation threads happening that anyone can get involved in. It’s a great place to be able to share ideas and be creative!

Ask your employees what they want and need

  • Conducting regular check-in surveys is a great way of asking employees exactly what is working right now and what might need improving. Of course, sending out surveys too often can result in survey fatigue so we would recommend a quarterly survey to keep the responses high. Once the survey results are in, make sure you acknowledge the common themes and communicate what you might do to take onboard any feedback given – employees want to feel valued and part of the conversation.

Workplace wellbeing