REBA Awards Winner: Social Wellbeing - Aviva

REBA's Employee Wellbeing Awards 2019 celebrate the very best in workplace wellbeing. The winner of the Social Wellbeing category was Aviva - and here's why it won: 

Size: 17,000 in the UK

Sector: Financial Services

Initiative: Health Heroes

What Aviva did

A key part of Aviva’s overall wellbeing programme is its “Be Awesome” strategy. This focuses on the power of positivity and social wellbeing and is also part of the organisation’s corporate responsibility strategy, as well as linking to its diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

Aviva’s focus on social wellbeing also links to its mental wellbeing strategy – built around the acronym ACT: Acknowledge, Communicate, Take Action. Employees are asked to watch out for colleagues who are not their usual self – and to do that, colleagues need to spend time together socially. 

The financial and health services provider divides its social wellbeing work into six communities, each of which has an executive sponsor, employee co-chairs and a steering committee. These cover different aspects of social wellbeing, such as caring (Aviva Carers) and work/life balance (Aviva Balance). 

From the start, Aviva wanted to tailor its wellbeing programme to the needs of its employees, which often differ by location, so each site also has its own activities. These are partly driven by local volunteer colleagues, known as Health Heroes. The network of Health Heroes is now 375-strong across the company’s 22 locations. 

Individuals are empowered and given the budget to create local wellbeing plans and receive support from the senior leadership team. That’s included running clubs, choirs, photography competitions and a celebration of National Picnic Week in 2018. The company provided rugs, healthy food from its restaurants and activities to encourage teams to enjoy some time together. 

To enable the whole company to benefit from the experiences of different sites, the Health Heroes share experiences in a fortnightly call, have their own intranet site, forum and newsletter. They also receive feedback directly from their own colleagues on the types of activities and programmes on offer, helping the network to improve over time. This anecdotal feedback is backed up by Aviva-wide surveys that also explore how well employees value their wellbeing benefits. 

At the end of each year, all Aviva’s sites review their activity and pitch for budget for the following year, based on the data that they’ve gathered from colleagues plus other sources including absence data and EAP use. This also provides a link with the company’s central wellbeing team. 

Aviva attribute a reduction in its sickness absence statistics partly to the Health Heroes scheme, and the cost to the company of absences has fallen by nearly 10% since 2017. Over 70% of employees rate the activities that the Health Heroes deliver highly. 

As working patterns change, Aviva knows that it will have new social wellbeing challenges to address – such as the effect of isolation on home or remote workers. It wants to evolve the Health Heroes scheme to make sure it can address these new  issues and also to ensure that the scheme is sustainable.

Why Aviva won 

The breadth of Aviva’s Health Heroes approach is impressive, as is the effect that it is having on the wellbeing of the company's workforce. Judges were impressed by the focus on making sure that the scheme remains sustainable over time and the extent to which senior management has supported both the Health Heroes scheme and the Communities that Aviva has created to focus on different aspects of social wellbeing. 

Judges also praised the extent to which Aviva has integrated social wellbeing with other aspects of its wellbeing strategy and in particular its effect on mental wellbeing.

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