Cubico Sustainable Investments (Cubico)
Cubico is a small, but global company, who were recently awarded with the London Healthy Workplace Award
Rebecca Hogan, Human Resources Director at Cubico, outlines the organisation’s approach to supporting workforce health and wellbeing.
“As a small company, we inevitably have the same challenge as many others, including large organisations; we have to choose our investments wisely. Investing in wellbeing doesn’t need to cost the earth.
Established in 2015, Cubico Sustainable Investments (Cubico) is an investor in, and long-term owner and operator of, global renewable energy projects. We are passionate about playing a key role in the clean energy transition and supporting the communities in which we operate.
What really makes us different though, is our people. Having grown from around 30 employees to more than 150 in our first three years, we started a wellbeing initiative in 2018 to emphasise the importance of looking after mental health, both at work and home, to our staff.
Built on a culture of doing the right thing and supporting each other through regular one-to-ones, the first year of new wellbeing investment started with the introduction of an employee assistance programme (EAP), which is available to all staff and their family members. Regular reminders of this service are shared through our internal communication channels, along with posters and presentations on the breadth of support our EAP offers, whether it be emotional, financial or legal advice. As a global company, we upgraded the service to ensure that all employees in our countries of operation have access to a local number with mother tongue speakers available.
We used World Mental Health Day as an opportunity to keep our support resources in the spotlight, by bringing our EAP consultants into the office to discuss their experiences and the benefits of the service. We accompanied this with talks by leading external speakers to share their personal stories around mental health.
In 2019, the second year of the initiative looked to build on the previous World Mental Health Day communications by asking employees to get involved in wellbeing activities throughout the year. These activities included mindfulness sessions in London, exercise classes in Italy and massages in Brazil. World Mental Health Day 2019 was recognised in every Cubico office around the world, including the smallest with between one and three people, as the language of mental health and wellbeing are becoming normalised and more commonplace.
We ended the year with our first Mental Health First Aid training. Over two days, 16 volunteers from across our European offices dived deep into what it means to both look after their own mental health and be prepared to help others – at work or home – who may need support.
As we enter the third year of this initiative, we are exploring a new area of wellbeing: financial. As a company that has become comfortable talking about mental health – including focusing on men’s mental health as part of International Men’s Day – exploring different facets of wellbeing is a sensible next step. In addition, our quarterly team or office events seek to aid social wellbeing.
Quantitative and qualitative employee feedback demonstrates that we are achieving our objectives – that team members appreciate the open and regular communication, training and tools supporting good mental health. For example, we have had many of our employees open up about their mental health journeys or the experiences of friends and family. When surveyed on whether the company really cares about their mental wellbeing, our employees rated us 8 out of 10.
We have also seen an increase in documented absence related to mental health, which we know has been underreported in the past, so the chance to have honest return-to-work conversions is a positive step forward.
In recognition of our progress, we were awarded the London Healthy Workplace Award (Foundation level) at the end of 2019.
We will continue to reiterate key wellbeing messages while exploring what else might work for the business. We are empowering local teams, led by office managers, to try office-specific initiatives based on all four of our health and wellbeing pillars: physical, mental, social and financial.
As a family-oriented company, we also want to help employees with the mental health of their family members and will be exploring relevant training in 2021.
Any advice for others?
As a small company, we inevitably have the same challenge as many others, including large organisations: we have to choose our investments wisely. Investing in wellbeing doesn’t need to cost the earth. There are plenty of free resources, including the City of London Corporation’s Business Healthy. In addition, an EAP is a reasonably cost-effective way to help employees when “life happens”.
It’s important not to be afraid to try, fail and try something else, as not every speaker, presentation or tool will work for every organisation. Employees value both the day-to-day conversations with managers and colleagues, as well as the wider initiatives, so try initiatives that are aimed directly at staff as well as line managers.
Any small victory makes a huge difference, so explore different options and see how you go.”
The London Healthy Workplace Award is a free accreditation scheme led by the Mayor of London’s office and the Greater London Authority (GLA). It recognises employers in all sectors and of all sizes in London who work to improve and support the health and wellbeing of their workforce. Employers in the City of London can receive free support to apply for the Award. Please get in touch here for more information.