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WALK are a community and voluntary organisation who support adults with intellectual disabilities to live self-determined lives in socially inclusive communities. They employ 205 staff and support 570 people with disabilities across 19 sites in Leinster. The organisation’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2017 had a specific aim to ‘Increase the consistent wellbeing of all persons in WALK’.

Promoting Workplace Wellbeing – The Process

A dedicated Wellbeing Team with cross organisational representation was created. Research, focus groups and online surveys on wellbeing were carried out to determine staff perception of wellbeing and priority areas for action.

A Wellbeing Policy for staff was launched with 8 staff as Wellbeing Coaches and 4 as Wellbeing Mentors. 7 Wellbeing Ambassadors were also appointed.

A WALK Assist programme was introduced to provide:

  • peer to peer wellbeing coaching
  • access to experienced mentors for support through difficult situations
  • free physical health checks every two years
  • a mental health awareness week and a wellbeing week annually

Wellbeing Champions assessed the impact of the initiative in the area where they worked. Wellbeing was discussed at staff meetings and performance reviews and an annual organisation wide survey on wellbeing was undertaken.


  • Staff in WALK had experienced a pay freeze since 2009. Working with the Financial Controller and Senior Management to agree a base salary for all front line roles resulted in increases for 24% of front line staff.
  • Due to funding volatility, WALK had previously introduced short-term contracts that gave no job security. All these contracts were reviewed and 70% of them were changed to contracts of indefinite duration.


  • Staff subjective measure of wellbeing increased by 8%
  • Service user satisfaction increased by 12%
  • Number of occurrences of  mental health related absences reduced by 7%
  • Overall job satisfaction increased  by 4%
  • Rating for being a fair place to work increased by 5%
  • Duration of mental health related absence reduced by 13%
  • Staff turnover due to wellbeing issues reduced by 12%


This was a two year project with a budget of €5000.


  • Take time to find out what wellbeing means for staff and not assume that every workplace is the same
  • Establish credibility and  deliver on promises
  • Encourage peer leadership, rather than all HR or head office led action
  • Address fundamental issues for staff need in order to receive buy in