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Nathalie Cousseau

UKI HR Director, Avanade

The best businesses create a welcoming and inclusive space where everyone feels heard. As a result, they will be able to attract and retain a diversity of talent.

High-performing organisations have employee wellbeing embedded in their DNA, says Nathalie Cousseau, UKI HR Director at Avanade, a global IT consulting and services provider. Apart from being the right thing to do, it attracts and retains the best talent.

“Companies can talk about caring for their employees and wanting people to bring their whole selves to work,” she notes. “But words have to be translated into action so that employees can see workplace wellbeing in practice. Only then does it become real.”

Major employee concerns

Cousseau explains that Avanade divides wellbeing into three pillars: physical, mental and financial. “These are the issues that our employees tell us they are most concerned about and want us to address,” she says. “So ‘physical’ initiatives might include private medical and dental insurance or discounted gym memberships. ‘Financial’ initiatives could involve bringing in vendors to talk to staff about pension planning or — as we’ll do in the future — implementing a financial wellbeing tool to help them make the best financial choices.”

That trust is empowering and helps us win and keep a diversity of talent. It’s an outcome-focused approach, rather than a time-focused one.

Enhancing employee wellbeing

Opportunities for remote and flexible working support mental wellbeing by giving employees personal choice, making them feel trusted and improving their work/life balance.

“We’ve avoided being prescriptive about working hours and working locations because we hire bright, talented people who know where they need to be to do the best work for us and our clients,” says Cousseau.

“That trust is empowering and helps us win and keep a diversity of talent. It’s an outcome-focused approach, rather than a time-focused one.”

A diverse and inclusive culture

The company has introduced an ‘alternative working week,’ giving individuals the option to think differently about time organisation, rather than adhering to a traditional nine-to-five, five days a week.

It also operates a flexible Bank Holiday policy. “A diverse organisation includes different cultures and beliefs,” says Cousseau. “That means not all Bank Holidays will be significant to all members — so employees can change these national holidays to ones that are more culturally appropriate to them.”

New candidates increasingly say they want to work in an inclusive culture which recognises unique differences and respects and celebrates people from all backgrounds. They want to see diverse role models at all levels of the organisation and know that it’s a workplace where they can flourish.”

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