OSB Group

Winner: SFJ Awards Impact Award for Promoting Wellbeing  - Private Sector

Colleagues’ wellbeing was an important focus of OSB Group’s Learning at Work Week activities and part of its purpose to help ‘customers, colleagues and communities prosper’. This year, the group set out to highlight to its colleagues in the UK and India how the organisation cares about their mental wellbeing and demonstrate the help that is available to support this.   

Learning at Work Week came at a key time as the workforce returned to working onsite, which some colleagues have found overwhelming. With this in mind, the team focused on creating human connections to support wellbeing with a series of events including company themed escape rooms, culture quizzes and podcasts.   

A session on ‘psychological safety’ showed how this contributes to a healthy culture, where people can bring their full contributions to work every day and giving everyone an equal opportunity to thrive regardless of their situation.  

Following feedback from coaching, a special course on how to ‘fight the imposter within’ was offered to colleagues who doubt their abilities and feel like a ‘fraud’, empowering them to challenge negative thoughts. Another session ‘Train your Brain’ was devised to help colleagues experiencing brain fog as a result of menopause and long covid, by providing techniques to improve memory.  

Colleagues could access classes on yoga and breathing, which can improve sleep, boost immunity, increase energy, improve focus and memory. The yoga classes are a continuation of OSB Group’s partnership with a local start-up from a previous Learning at Work Week and now take place three times a week as a regular offering.  

The planning team used an internal advertising teaser campaign and a spoken advert on its internal channels to get everyone involved. To spread the word, they engaged with the senior management team, managers, and groups across the company including the workplace advisory forum, the mental health first aiders and diversity and inclusion working group. During the week, daily communications highlighted sessions on offer as well as daily challenges and podcasts. The company’s ‘Let’s chat’ platform created a buzz with discussions on different sessions and challenges, encouraging friendly competition, recommendations and connections between colleagues.  

As a specialist lender, the group delivered Learning at Work Week at a time of increased pressure on the business. Increased rising interest rates and the cost-of-living crisis meant the focus needed to be on customers. By being flexible and with clever planning and a variety of learning methods, the group were able to still deliver Learning at Work Week and support employee wellbeing.  

In 2022, the numbers of colleagues taking part increased by 10% and more areas of the business got involved. Senior leaders supported the wellbeing training and have endorsed additional internal courses and external classes such as the breathing and yoga classes. By bringing colleagues together to connect across two countries, the week has facilitated cultural knowledge exchanges and team building. As one participant commented:   

“I think this is a beautiful idea.  It makes me feel closer to the people talking even though I have never met them”.