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24 Jul 2023
by Tom Gardner

Sky’s Tom Gardner details how its flexible wellbeing strategy is supporting employees

Even well-established health and wellbeing strategies need continuous communication and reengagement, as Tom Gardner, Head of Reward at Sky explains.

Sky’s Tom Gardner details how its flexible wellbeing strategy is supporting employees.jpg


Wellbeing has always been part of our benefits offering at Sky, so, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we didn’t have to create a new offering, but we did have to think about how we communicated it. 

We want to be able to offer the same general wellbeing and healthcare benefits for everyone, and to look at the diverse people, skills and job roles we have to make sure we are being inclusive. 

That has meant realigning some legacy principles to serve our wider audience and recognising our demographic trends with a mostly young workforce. 

Sky carries out targeted listening with our employees. Most understand that the reward and benefits offering is comprehensive, but flexibility is also very important and we formally recognise hybrid working. Where employees are working flexibly, we use this as an opportunity to re-communicate related benefits, such as holiday buying, for example, and how employees can use their healthcare plans to support them when working flexibly. 

Sometimes, even longstanding employees don’t understand the full purpose and extent of the package, so we have been reiterating our three-pillar approach recently in communications. 

We use employee forums to help communicate the wellbeing package and also understand how effective it is, but there are important governance challenges around the ebb and flow of how influential forums can be. Some will be very active and potentially have a strong influence on our benefits plans – whereas other groups may be more marginalised. That does need a central voice to make sure that influence is regulated. We also need to make sure that misunderstandings don’t result in misinformation being shared across forums. 

Governance of employee involvement is also essential to other aspects of our wellbeing approach. For example, while we want line managers to be open about their mental health resilience, it is important to make sure that people can balance sharing their own story appropriately with what is needed to support other employees and being able to spot signs of stress. 

There is trepidation about the next few years for both customers and our own people. We have a cost-of-living checklist – we want to make sure we can get our people through the cost-of-living crisis, and sustain that with good financial habit building. We also need to encourage employees to be self-reliant. Across the global group there are different concepts of where employer responsibility starts and ends – we want people to have more than the state offers, but not to replace the state.