Obesity and diabetes are at epidemic levels and one in four people are suffering a mental health illness in any one year. Unsurprisingly, these health challenges, coupled with an ageing workforce and other market demands are causing rates of short and long-term absenteeism to rise.
Torus is a large housing and regeneration group based in the North West of England. It was formed in April 2015 when two separate high performing organisations, Helena Partnerships and Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT), joined forces to form a new housing group.
OD Performance Lead, Rebecca Duckett, recognised these pressures when Torus was created in 2015 and agreed, with the Executive Management Team (EMT), to make employee health a key priority to ensure corporate resilience for the future, as well as putting their people first.
The Organisational Development team (OD) wanted to invest in one system for managing absence that replaced manual processes, supported managers to comply with policies and delivered the health data needed by EMT. With this in mind, Rebecca went to the market to source a low-cost, efficient solution and the Empactis workforce health platform was selected as the best on the market and installed across the Group.
Today, Torus is benefiting from the positive contribution that their focus on employee health makes to the delivery of higher quality and lower cost services. From the experiences gained, Torus highlight three key enablers that deliver improved employee health.
1. Leadership and change coming from the top.
The Executive Management Team communicated its aims and objectives to the organisation. They also explained why employee health was a strategic priority, how changes would be supported and the benefits available for individuals and the wider organisation. They became the role models for the cultural and behavioural changes that they want to see across the organisation and committed necessary resources to the project.
2. Line management being the fundamental link between employee and employer.
Line managers were supported to actively and consistently engage with staff about their health. Improved manager behaviour was underpinned by new OD policies and a new workforce health platform. Leadership teams now hold line managers to account by regularly monitoring how well they apply workforce policies and the quality of conversations that managers have with their people.
3. Digital solutions to deliver real-time data and support management best practice.
Empactis’s digital workforce health platform was installed. This provides employees with an automated 24/7/365 service where they open, amend and close any unplanned absence. It instantly notifies managers about an absence and offers them user-friendly tools to engage with absent employees. Previously, Torus struggled to obtain workforce data that was accurate and timely. They can now monitor manager performance in real-time, review workforce health trends and evidence the health interventions that deliver the most benefit. Before Torus began working with Empactis they had two different OD systems, two different policies and different processes for absence reporting. Sickness was increasing, reporting any management information was difficult and they were not able to compare like for like. Managers from the different areas of the business had different ways of managing and reporting absence, so consistency and visibility was a real issue for the business.
When asked to comment on the project, these Torus employees had the following to say: