Awards are not the end goal for Nomura, who are focused on improving the standards among their peers.
Nomura is a Tokyo-based investment bank, which was founded in 1925 and which has had a presence in London since 1964. It employs over 27,000 staff worldwide, with more than 3,000 based at its Upper Thames Street offices in the City.
The company recognises that banking is a challenging sector to work in, particularly since the global crisis of 2007 and in light of ongoing uncertainty around Brexit. Many people associate a career in financial services with a never-ending cycle of long hours, stress, sandwiches eaten at the desk and a busy train ride home after nightfall.
Nomura is looking to change this perception. It recognises a strong link between levels of staff wellbeing and business performance. Caring for its employees’ wellbeing fulfils part of the company’s responsibility towards public health in general. It sees internal health and wellbeing as part of a bigger picture, where it can support the local community and promote responsible behaviour more widely and takes a proactive and positive approach to doing so. Work can be one of many sources of stress in people’s lives and Nomura acknowledges that it is not always easy to separate this source from others. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that the company won the award for Overall Healthiest Workplace in the UK (large companies), as well as the Healthiest Employees Award (large companies), in the Britain’s Healthiest Workplace rankings in 2016, adding to their already-full awards cabinet.
Nomura’s aim is to sustain a resilient workforce through physical, social and psychological wellbeing. Its offering covers a wide range, focusing on different areas, including physical wellbeing, mental wellness, nutrition and good emotional connections. Great importance is placed on physical health, demonstrated by offerings to staff, including a subsidised state-of-the-art gym on-site, an on-site GP, nurse, physiotherapist, dentist and hygienist, physiologist, occupational health nurse, sports masseuse, smoking cessation support and ergonomist. The convenience of on-site facilities helps staff to be more proactive about their health, as they do not have to worry about taking time off to attend appointments. This, in turn, saves company time too. Active commuting, particularly cycling, is promoted by Nomura, which has 250 cycle bays, a cycle to work scheme, lockers and showers and a bike maintenance room. It’s not just about the high-resource support, Nomura ensures that healthy options, such as nuts and fruit, are on offer at meetings and in the staff restaurants. Prices on healthy foods in the staff restaurant are kept flat, to encourage consumption. “Little things, such as offering healthy snacks, affect people subconsciously. It tells them that they do have a choice”.
Good mental health is equally as important to Nomura as physical health and is catered for through a programme of monthly events and provisions such as an in-house counsellor, multi-faith room and awareness programmes. Sessions include yoga classes, nutritional talks, mindfulness sessions, meditation, a choir and mind-body classes, which are aimed at promoting and supporting good mental health and limiting the effects of stress and other triggers. By supporting staff in this way, Nomura can ensure that it can compete for and retain the best people.
There are also services for specific needs, such as a menopause group, one-to-one fitness classes, a pregnancy room and free pregnancy yoga.
Nomura recognises that embedding all offerings within the wider health and wellbeing strategy is crucial to their success. Health and wellbeing champions and related networks facilitate health and wellbeing to be a part of wider internal day-to-day activities. Champions are appointed in every business division, for example. This, combined with endorsement from the senior management team, ensures that staff health and wellbeing is high on the agenda. High importance is placed on monitoring of impact. Wherever data can be collected, it is, and this helps Nomura to continually develop a health and wellbeing programme, the “Nomura Blueprint”, which is tailored to the needs of its workforce. For Nomura, awards are not seen as the end goal. They may provide motivation and recognition and can certainly help when seeking resources from management, but they are also a great mechanism for improving standards among peers and competitors – each year the bar is set higher, which is good for all.