News and Events

Wellbeing at Work Silver Award

We are thrilled to announce that Dawson Hart Solicitors has achieved the Wellbeing at Work Silver Award which is accredited by Wellbeing at Work East Sussex. This prestigious award recognises our ongoing commitment to fostering a healthy and supportive work environment for all our staff.

Building on Bronze Success

Since achieving the Bronze Award in just 6 months in 2023, we've continued to make significant strides in our wellbeing initiatives. Our internal Wellbeing Committee has grown, allowing us to champion employee wellbeing more effectively. The Wellbeing Committee meet regularly to discuss new staff suggestions or ideas from committee members that can be introduced to boost employee wellbeing. We've also invested in training for all staff – from mental health awareness, suicide prevention and menopause awareness to becoming Fertility Ambassadors with Fertility Network UK. We are one of just 25% of businesses in the UK with a Fertility Policy. We also now have four trained Mental Health First Aiders at Dawson Hart.

Communication is Key

We understand the importance of open and judgement-free communication. We have dedicated internal channels for sharing company updates and changes. Our monthly "Cake and Chat" meetings include a standing Wellbeing agenda item, to act as education and a platform to facilitate collaborative conversation amongst all employees, and we've introduced healthy fruit options at these gatherings. Additionally, our anonymous suggestion box has been a huge success. All suggestions are carefully considered by the Wellbeing Committee, with feedback provided through email and staff meetings. Feasible suggestions are then presented to Senior Management for implementation.

Above - Dawson Hart Wellbeing Team receive the award

Staff Feedback in Action

Thanks to employee suggestions, we've introduced a rolling 10-minute lunchtime meditation session – a fantastic opportunity to de-stress and recharge during the workday. We've also adjusted our annual leave policy, ensuring all staff have equal annual leave entitlement, whilst also offering extra leave at Christmas.

Looking Ahead

We are committed to continuously promoting mental health awareness and fostering an open communication environment. We encourage all staff to take advantage of our wellbeing training opportunities and play an active role in shaping our initiatives. We will soon be looking to begin work on achieving the Gold award from Wellbeing at Work East Sussex.

Why Choose Dawson Hart?

Our commitment to employee wellbeing sets us apart. By prioritising a healthy and supportive work environment, we attract and retain the best legal talent. This, in turn, allows us to deliver exceptional legal services to our clients.

We also highly recommend the Wellbeing at Work programme to other businesses. It provides a well-structured framework and excellent resources to support employee health and wellbeing, ultimately leading to a more productive and successful organisation.

Our Wellbeing Lead and Practice Manager, Nicola Harding, was recently interviewed by the Wellbeing and Work East Sussex team about our experiences in obtaining the Silver Award. Here is what happened…

Tell us about your role and role as Wellbeing Lead.

The role of a practice manager in a law firm can be ambiguous. Its meaning can vary depending on the requirements of the firm, including its size, structure, affordability and plans. According to an article published by job site Totally Legal in May 2017, a practice manager provides “a demandingly diverse skills mix ranging from people management and marketing to finance, facilities and administration. Responsible for the seamless daily running of the practice, this is a roll-up-your-sleeves role that requires commercial awareness and first-class coordination and communication skills”.

A practice manager needs to be highly skilled in a multitude of areas: finance, compliance, HR, change management, IT and business support, project management, facilities, health and safety, security, and general office administrative duties. You must keep many plates spinning all the while keeping directors, fee earners and support staff happy.

As Wellbeing Lead, I am responsible for leading the rollout of wellbeing initiatives and promoting wellbeing amongst staff. The Wellbeing Committee is completely invaluable in achieving this. We have promoted men’s wellbeing, suicide awareness, mental health awareness, stress in the workplace and building resilience, prostate cancer, bowel cancer and increasing knowledge and understanding of fertility issues.

I am actively involved in networking and increasing my knowledge of different external perspectives and challenges faced by other organisations in balancing wellbeing and business interests.

I hold wellbeing meetings with staff to offer support and to ensure that an open communication climate operates within the structure of the business. I also signpost staff to outside resources.

Why did your organisation sign up for the Wellbeing at Work programme?

Promoting and supporting employee wellbeing is at the heart of business, we want to support our staff and champion better work and working lives.  An effective workplace wellbeing programme can deliver mutual benefit to people, organisations, economies and communities. Healthy workplaces help people to flourish and reach their potential.

However, wellbeing initiatives often fall short of their potential because they stand alone, isolated from the everyday business. To gain real benefit, employee wellbeing priorities must be integrated throughout an organisation, embedded in its culture, leadership and people management. The Wellbeing at Work programme is a structured wellbeing accreditation programme, which is fully supported by a friendly and knowledgeable team and provides a framework for us to base our wellbeing strategies.

Was there anything specific your organisation wanted to achieve through the Wellbeing at Work programme?

Within the legal sector, employees are highly susceptible to burnout and stress related ill health.  It was important for us to provide mental health promotion and resources to be able to refer staff to.

How has the programme helped your organisation in its employee health and wellbeing aims?

Yes.  The programme enabled us to devise and send out a wellbeing survey to all staff.  As a result of this survey, we have focused a lot of our wellbeing initiatives around stress reduction and mental health awareness. We will be sending around a further wellbeing survey this year to measure the impact that the wellbeing programme has had on all our staff.

Have there been any challenges along the way?

It is important to be proactive and not reactive.  For example, if we notice employees showing signs of stress, but do not tackle the root causes, then employees may become burnt out and still leave.  A challenge is ensuring that wellbeing is part of the organisational culture and is not seen as ad hoc or a quick fix, whilst balancing the business needs.

Has your organisation accessed our training offer?

All committee members have undertaken the Wellbeing Champions training (x9). We have four qualified Mental Health First Aiders.  Other training that has been accessed by the committee members is: Menopause demystified, Mental Health Awareness Training, Men’s Wellbeing webinar, Managing stress and building resilience.

Overall, what can you tell us about your experience with the Wellbeing at Work programme?
It has been a very positive experience.  It has allowed members of our staff to access training to increase their knowledge and to cascade this throughout the organisation.  Further, the structure of the programme has provided focus for our wellbeing initiatives.

What are your organisation’s future employee health and wellbeing aims?

To continue to promote mental health and an open communication climate. To encourage staff to undertake wellbeing training opportunities to increase their knowledge and to ensure that wellbeing strategies are embedded within our organisational culture.

Would you recommend the programmes to other businesses? Why/ why not?

Yes.  The programme is well structured, the resources are excellent, and the team are friendly and knowledgeable. It is important that wellbeing takes a central focus within the workplace as from a business perspective, it increases productivity, staff retention and attracts new staff.  In a competitive business environment, it can differentiate you from your competitors.