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Prime Accountants Group

Organisation Name: Prime Accountants Group

Sector: Finance

Size of Organisation: 105 employees

Thrive Lead: Steve Harcourt

What They Do: Prime Accountants Group is a medium-sized accounting firm that employs around 100 people across its offices in Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry. The firm, which can trace its roots back to the 1940s, provides a range of financial services for clients, including auditing, bookkeeping, tax, financial advice, and payroll services.

What Prime Accountants Group did: Prime conducted an anonymous survey of its employees to assess what the mental health of staff was actually like, rather than what directors had simply assumed and three ‘mental health champions’ were appointed, who would be responsible for assisting staff to monitor their own and each other’s mental health and spotting any signs something may be wrong. As well as this a signposting system was put in place to enable employees to find the help or support they needed. Steven said: “The survey showed us there were more problems than we might have thought – as staff, understandably, would not have mentioned these problems to us directly. We knew we had to put in proper systems to support health and wellbeing, and these included the three mental health champions. “Through online training, we also made it clear throughout the company that mental health was nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, making it clear if something is wrong early on can often prevent more serious problems in the future.”

Just after Prime Accountants Group achieved their accreditation, the country was placed into lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prime had to furlough some of their staff, with the rest now having to work from home. This created a new set of pressures on mental health that may not have been present before. The new mental health champions at Prime were diligent in checking on staff members ensuring that all staff were regularly contacted throughout the lockdown, including those who were on furlough.

How Thrive at Work has impacted Prime Accountants: Since joining Thrive, Prime has implemented twice daily alarms where staff get up and stretch and move around, this has been implemented to support mental, physical and Musculoskeletal (MSK) health and has been very well received by staff. They also set up a meeting with a wellbeing mentor who offered all employees a 6-week wellbeing programme; supporting mental, physical, MSK, hydration and weight loss, with 75% of staff participating and continuing with the advice, helping to create a healthier, happier workforce.

Steven Harcourt, Director at Prime, said: “The changes we made meant we could be a lot more proactive with our workers’ mental health rather than reactive.

“We hope it also means that any stigma associated with mental health issues has gone. The commitment we made by achieving our Thrive at Work bronze accreditation means our employees can now be confident in talking about any issues they are experiencing, instead of keeping it to themselves.

“For example, we had a lady working for us who lived far away from her friends and family, and when the lockdown was enforced, she asked if she could move away to live with them for the time being as she was finding it very hard. As we were all working remotely, we were happy to grant this request for her.

“If we hadn’t signed up to Thrive at Work and shown our commitment to supporting staff mental health, I’m not sure if she’d have felt confident enough to raise the issue with us. But because she did, we were able to find a solution that positively impacted her mental health, and meant she was able to continue working for us. If she had not said anything, it may have resulted in long-term sickness further down the line.”

Steve feels other companies should take a keen interest in staff mental health.

“I’d really encourage businesses to sign up to a workplace wellbeing scheme like Thrive at Work,” he added.

“We have always said that our staff members are our biggest asset, and a good business needs to protect and nurture them. We want to support our staff to deal with any problems early on, and to prevent long term absence or low productivity which is crucial for our business.

“The pandemic put a huge strain on our employees’ mental health. Thanks to Thrive at Work, we were supported to put measures in place to ensure staff could reach out to colleagues and discuss any issues they might be having and could easily find help.”

Accreditation Date: February 2020

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