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Home » Employee Wellbeing » Realising the many ways to support the wellbeing of a workforce

Clare Cahill

Total Rewards Representative, PepsiCo Ireland

Bernadette Leyden

EHS Manager, Little Island, PepsiCo Ireland

Brian Colgan

Plant Director, Little Island, PepsiCo Ireland

Companies are increasingly recognising the value of employee wellbeing initiatives to support the workforce and their families.

Offering a range of support, education and resources can impact employee wellbeing. Extending that beyond the workforce to families in areas such as counselling and financial advice can also have a positive effect. Additionally, wellbeing projects can be extended into wider communities with green initiatives that benefit local neighbourhoods and the environment.

Mental health

HR representative Clare Cahill says the employee wellbeing emphasis had shifted in recent years from physical health to more towards mental health. “The focus is now more on a healthy mind, particularly with Covid-19 and the fact that people’s mental health had taken a knock,” says Cahill, who is Total Rewards Representative at PepsiCo Ireland. That has also seen the planned introduction of mental health first aid training within the organisation for 2023 as well as PSA testing for men to screen for prostate cancer.

Healthy living

Globally, PepsiCo has a centre of excellence under its Total Rewards department called Healthy Living, which has three pillars: Be Well, Find Balance and Get Involved. In Ireland, it is being applied as the ‘HowAREyouDoing?’ programme, with speakers offering advice on eating well, sleeping well, areas of addiction and mindfulness and setting priorities — with up to 500 employees participating.

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offers free, in-depth assistance or counselling; a designated ‘Benefits Month’ for one-to-one sessions with health insurance and pension providers; engagement with a cycle-to-work vendor; and the ‘Work that Works’ flexible working concept, featuring social events.

Commit to advocacy and model the
behaviours we wish to see in others.

Brian Colgan

Inclusion networks and groups

 Brian Colgan, who is Little Island Plant Director, explains how the company has evolved the DE&I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) agenda to drive an inclusive leadership and culture and elevate the representation of women through the Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) ERG. This is alongside the activities of the other ERGs representing minority groups such as Equal (LGBTQIA) and Enable (representing all abilities).

“We have active teams focusing on awareness campaigns to promote these activities,” says Colgan, who is WIN co-chair. He explains that they build on inclusive leadership and unconscious bias training and ‘a space to be you’ awareness, as well as encouraging allyship in the workplace.

“We aim to ensure that our environment encourages people to be themselves and create that sense of belonging where different perspectives are embraced,” continues Colgan. “It’s clear that when marginalised group members have coworker allies, they have increased job satisfaction, lower anxiety and a stronger workplace commitment.”

Raise awareness

With men actively part of WIN, Colgan says male members are engaged in dialogue to raise awareness and “commit to advocacy and model the behaviours we wish to see in others.”

WIN is also focused on attracting, appreciating and accelerating women’s representation — with an overlap and synergy with STEM groups such as Million Women Mentors and iWISH to ensure early engagement for prospective female employees in the STEM arena.

Sustainability teams

A major part of the employee wellbeing initiatives is PepsiCo Positive — with sustainability and green teams, community partnerships and CSR (corporate social responsibility) elements.

Bernadette Leyden, who is EHS (environmental health and safety) Manager at the Little Island Plant, says: “We have very active teams, with sustainability at the centre of everything we do to have a positive impact on our people and planet.” The ‘Green Team’ works under the headings of education, workplace and community. Education features in-house campaigns on issues such as water conservation, solar panels and energy efficiency — while recycling is a priority in the workplace. Further initiatives include plant and seed days to encourage the home growing of flowers and vegetables, community beach cleans and participation in ‘Tidy Towns’ initiatives.

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