Jumping for Joy – DeCare Receive the IBEC KeepWell Mark


DeCare has been awarded Ibec’s KeepWell Mark accreditation. The team is honoured to receive this accreditation and committed to ongoing collaboration in all areas of workplace wellbeing, as DeCare strives for excellence  There is a great deal of energy and focus throughout the organisation creating a culture of wellbeing.

The KeepWell Mark™ is an evidence based accreditation and award that recognises Irish employers for investing in workplace health and wellbeing. Its aim is to help business benchmark workplace wellbeing activity through a set of systematic and methodical steps. The framework includes a self-assessment, an onsite assessment from an Ibec approved external assessor, and culminates with a report that outlines areas for improvement. This is vital in pursuing excellence and forward progression.

The accreditation takes a holistic approach, focusing on eight key areas and how they impact the business. The eight pillars that were measured include:  leadership, absence management, smoke free environment, physical activity, health & safety, mental health, healthy eating, and intoxicants.

Speaking about this achievement, Maureen Walsh, Managing Director states,

“This is a wonderful achievement and the team should be extremely proud, I certainly am.  People are and have always been at the core of DeCare’s evolving business success. The ability of our people to adapt, innovate, differentiate, and thrive in an ever changing business environment has led to the growth of the company to date and will underpin our future success.  Life and work is now more complex than ever and they are intertwined. We need to be in a good state of physical, mental, and emotional wellness to be able to bring our best qualities to work each day and this means recognising that quality of life in the workplace must be taken very seriously. In order to thrive into the future, we are continually striving to embrace the potential of wellness by aligning our culture and environment with our team’s personal values, motivations, and wellness needs. This will be an ongoing journey”.

DeCare’s Health Promotion Manager David Casey, provides leadership throughout the organisation and delivers health promotion programmes for many of DeCare’s corporate customers throughout Ireland.  Services include smoking cessation support, oral health checks, sugar connection workshops, mental health and workplace wellbeing training that have Skillnet funding. This is available to companies of all sizes nationwide.  It is evident that DeCare place a large emphasis on mental health in the workplace.  David recently ran a mental health stigma seminar for employees which covered content related to mental health stigma, supports and its link with other aspects of health which engaged employees. This is helping to inform our 2020 Action Plan. Members of the DeCare team will be participating in the internationally recognised Mental Health First Aid course. David states that ‘Health goes beyond one linear biological component and is all encompassing of where we live, grow, work and age,’’.

Training is at the core of development and DeCare. The team is keen to take on new types of training, whether that be internal or external training in order to develop existing or new skills  One of the innovation highlights is the “DeCare Hackathon” where staff from all areas of the business pitch ideas that will contribute to customer satisfaction, business growth and innovation at the company. This is a staff led initiative, where ideas are backed for investment and make a big impact on business performance. This enables DeCare to build the business by design.

The company celebrates National Workplace Wellbeing Day each year with various talks throughout the day, which included a complementary yoga class, healthy lunch, promoted desk based movement exercise, and a lunch-time walk.  The yoga was so successful that it has now become embedded into DeCare’s weekly wellness programmes. DeCare promotes several initiatives that link physical activity to the workplace. It operates a bike to work scheme and provides bike racks, showers, and changing facilities. There is a walking/running track in front of the building and many of the team are regular walkers around the track on their breaks throughout the day. A new healthy vending machine and fruit delivered to the office has proved extremely popular, making the healthier choice the easier choice.

It is clear that DeCare encourages outreach activities, where the team has raised significant funds for a number of charities. Each year, the DeCare team selects a Charity of the Year and all fundraising activity is targeted to raise funds for that charity.  The annual Sport a Smile Run, now in its 19th year, has evolved over the years and is an annual community highlight for runners and walkers throughout the region.  The DeCare team volunteers for programmes such as Junior Achievement which enables our team to teach children throughout the local community in a variety of subjects.

DeCare is proud to be a founding member of the Open Doors initiative which promotes greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace. As part of the initiative, DeCare collaborated with the direct provision centre in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo to organise an Oral Health seminar last October. DeCare health promotion specialist, Noeleen Lowry educated the large group on the importance of good oral health and the links with overall health and quality of life. DeCare also teamed up with Specialisterne Ireland, which is a specialist agency that supports talented individuals with Autism, Asperger’s and similar challenges to find meaningful work and have successfully employed someone with Autism who is thriving in the work environment and performing extremely well.

Speaking on behalf of DeCare, Petraea Costello, HR Manager said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have achieved this accreditation and it is something to which everyone at DeCare has contributed towards in the last few years and will provide us with a framework for the years ahead. I think it really demonstrates that we take the health and wellbeing of our employees seriously and that it’s a top priority for us. We’ll take great motivation from the accreditation to ensure we maintain our high standards but also strive to continuously improve. Embedding a health & wellbeing strategy that supports a company’s business agenda is not a once-off event, but rather a process that continuously requires reviewing and tailoring to meet the changing needs of our dynamic workforce. As our company Health Promotion Manager, David Casey said, ‘would you brush your teeth 365 times in one day and not touch them again for the rest of the year?