Viasat Ireland receives KeepWell Mark national accreditation

Dublin office is among top 100 Irish companies leading in wellbeing

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Employees at the Dublin Viasat office gathered for a picnic recently to celebrate the office’s workplace wellbeing accreditation.

Viasat’s Dublin office is dedicated to keeping its employees connected and investing in their wellbeing. This commitment and other steps the Dublin team takes earned Viasat a spot on the 2022 list of Top 100 Ireland companies invested in their employee’s wellbeing.

The index is published by the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC). It recognizes businesses who are leading the way in supporting employee mental health and wellbeing.

Viasat’s Dublin office qualified for the recognition because it recently earned a KeepWell Mark accreditation from IBEC, which indicates a company is committed to improving their employees’ wellbeing. Qualifying for the KeepWell Mark is a lengthy process that includes a self-assessment of eight recognized standards in leadership, absence management, mental health, health and safety, smoke free, intoxicants, physical activity, and healthy eating, as well as a review by an independent, third-party assessor.

Completing the process was “a significant undertaking of time and effort,” said People & Culture business partner Fiona McElligott, but it also helped to validate what we were already doing.

“What became apparent during the process was the volume and breadth of initiatives we do, and which we believe we do quite well,” she said.

The KeepWell Mark report praised the Dublin office for its “extensive and well-established communication system.”

“It is evident from the employee focus groups that they feel leadership truly listens to employees,” it read.

It also gave positive marks to the office’s weekly People Managers Forum that provides an overview on key people activities, and the office’s Buzz newsletter which includes business updates and details on the latest wellbeing initiatives.

“Reward and recognition systems are an integral part of Viasat’s management practices,” the report read. “In addition to the corporate reward and recognition program, the company facilitates the popular Thank You Thursday (TYT) initiative. TYT is an employee driven monthly event that recognizes the good work done by employees.”

Many of these programs are run by community manager Lauren Pritchard, who works to engage employees and foster a sense of workplace community. The Dublin team doubled down on those efforts during the height of the pandemic, when employees were largely separated and working from home.

“We put such an emphasis then on connection and keeping people together,” Pritchard said. “Even though many of us are still remote or hybrid, the whole team connection is really important.”

Pritchard facilitates the popular Thank You Thursdays and Feel Good Fridays, during which people are encouraged to post good news from their week on Slack.

“It can range from somebody’s strawberries growing to somebody buying a house,” Pritchard said. “It all creates community and culture within the office. And if you create a culture of people who have a work family, that’s what makes people want to come to work.”

The Viasat Dublin office also received high marks for its support of mental health initiatives and encouraging physical health, and healthy eating, among other areas.

Employees interviewed during the assessment backed up the findings.

“A strong theme emanating from the (employee) focus groups was loyalty,” the report read. “Employees reported that this loyalty was earned by the company’s flexible and compassionate way in managing non-work-related issues when they arise.”

This accreditation is great news, and furthermore it’s also the start of a two-year process to maintain and improve its rankings in the eight standards. The accreditation report includes areas in which a company excels as well as opportunities for improvement.

“We’re just starting the two-year journey, and we have a lot of work to do,” McElligott said. “We want to get everyone involved and make our employees part of the solution.”