• Safeguarding our employees during the pandemic

The wellbeing of our employees has been a key focus during the crisis

As COVID-19 spread and impacted our professional and personal lives, we saw increasing awareness of health and wellbeing. The bank responded quickly and formed a new global wellbeing co-ordination group to manage fast changing requirements and to connect with colleagues in regional executive teams that were driving health and wellbeing initiatives on the ground.

A bank-wide communications campaign with one microsite containing all relevant global and regional information enabled staff to easily navigate the services available to them in each country and region. The information is provided by our internal crisis management team and is updated on a regular basis. The site contains links to country specific information. Additionally, we communicate regular regional updates to our employees to ensure their safety. Senior management ownership supported Health and Wellbeing initiatives across the globe.

With employee wellbeing a primary focus, we launched a number of programs and initiatives to support our people

In Germany, the COVID-19 vaccination campaign began in June 2021 for employees, externals and family members with around 15,000 1st and 2nd vaccinations.

The booster campaign started in December 2021 (approximately 2,500 by end of 2021) continuing into 2022 in several German regions.

In the UK we provide extensive information to employees on COVID-19 related topics such as reporting requirements, return to office, working from home. We offer on-site employees COVID-19 antigen testing through our medical partners.

In the US, we combat the spread of COVID-19 by offering on-site testing in our main locations. COVID-19 vaccines and booster and flu vaccinations were also made available to employees in New York and Jacksonville through our on-site health centers and we provided health coaching regarding COVID-19 through our onsite health centers.

Our extended reach of our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to more locations allowed more employees to access professional counselling services at a time of great need.

In locations where there was a partial return to the office, we created a practical ‘Phase back to onsite working’ guide designed to support staff who were required to return to office.

We introduced a global webinar series on mental health and resilience, including Q&A sessions with resident company doctors covering all aspects of COVID-19 and the impact on health. These have had a positive impact on staff throughout the pandemic and have regularly been booked out.

In Asia-Pacific, the EAP vendor created a COVID-19 Toolkit. Regional sessions conducted on specific topics such as managing grief and loss, social isolation, domestic violence, substance abuse, languishing in Covid, suicide awareness, coping with compassion stress etc.

The initiative ‘The India story’ included:

  • the creation of Rapid Action & Immediate Assistance Team taskforce to support employees and families with financial support.
  • 24/7 dedicated body comprising of India management and site leads to support employees with sourcing medicines, hospital admission, ambulance and plasma.
  • Set up of an Employee Welfare Trust to support not only COVID-19 cases but any other employee exigency.
  • Deployment of fully equipped ambulances on-site & provision of oxygen concentrators (15 nos)

The COVID-19 crisis has given us the opportunity to bring wellbeing and mental health to the fore. The wellbeing of our employees is part of our transformation agenda and our DNA. It is not just about offering a series of wellbeing benefits, but an evolving agenda in the years ahead.