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University College Birmingham Guild of Students

Sector: Membership 

Size of Organisation: 10

Thrive Lead: Sarah Kerton

What they do: All students enrolled at the college or University automatically become a member of the Guild. The purpose of the Guild is to give students a voice on issues that matter to them and create a community through group activities that cover social events, personal interests, sports and campaigning.

How Thrive at Work has impacted the organisation:

UCB guild of students' achievement in reaching bronze accreditation reflects their determination to improve the wellbeing of their team. They signed up for the Thrive commitment to solidify their policies and practice and build upon the excellent work they had begun. 
Whilst their student-facing work can be fast-paced, employees describe the Guild as a positive and supportive workplace due to regular 121s and wellbeing check-ins. 
Even though the Guild is a mixture of volunteers and employees, they have built an open and supportive culture. The team are actively encouraged to take an interest in each other's roles and attend away days, promoting an overall awareness of objectives and how everyone's role contributes to success. There are examples of the team looking out for each other and delaying meetings when team members are overloaded. A willingness to provide support when there are demands upon the day-to-day operations further demonstrates the supportive culture they have created. 
During their accreditation, they have run several campaigns that included a steps challenge that generated a competitive spirit and prompted reflection on finding opportunities to increase steps during the day. Some of this has resulted in some long-term changes. The team have a space to play board games to encourage 'time out' and feel they can share any concerns regarding their mental health through their wellbeing check-ins or on a more informal basis. 
As a result of Thrive at Work, The Guild can now take pride in their original goal of wanting to create a 'great workplace'. 
An increase in open conversations about how people are, either physically or mentally, was one of the overwhelming benefits that the organisation identified. Compared to before Thrive at Work, the feeling was that they didn't necessarily happen. Thrive gave the vehicle to enable vulnerabilities to be shared and trust to be built. There is the perspective that, as a result, there has been an increase in productivity. 
The structure of Thrive at Work gave the organisation the confidence and justification to plan activities and get the board's sign-off. 
Accreditation gave them a structured development opportunity for a management team member. Delegation of certain parts of the accreditation process enabled the team member to manage project delivery, manage deadlines and develop a range of additional management skills that were described as  'invaluable.' 
Increase in sickness but in a good way! Sarah viewed that people and vulnerable staff were willing to share more disclosures. People took time off that they needed rather than feeling pressure to come to work. The view is 'Need time off? Please take it and trust the team' to support you. 
Overall greater awareness on an organisational and individual level to take wellbeing more seriously and to be consistently respectful of each other. Whilst everyone was initially at a different starting point, Thrive was the vehicle for team conversations to enable the whole team to maintain wellbeing on the agenda and further create a supportive and open culture.
“Achieving Thrive at Work validates and celebrates the hard work our team have done to champion health and wellbeing in the workplace. The Guild of Students is a fantastic place to work and we are excited to continue living our values and creating further opportunities to look out for each other at work.” Cassie O'Boyle, Head of Operations
Award Date: Dec 2022