50 years and going strong: Unum and law firm Pinsent Masons continue their collaboration to help employees thrive
What were you doing in 1973? Of course, it’s possible you weren’t even born — it was 50 years ago after all. So you might not remember Edward Heath as UK Prime Minister, Richard Nixon holding power in the US, or that HM Queen Elizabeth II was still four years away from her first jubilee, the Silver Jubilee celebrating 25 years on the throne. How about the first mobile telephone call? Perhaps you didn’t experience the 3-Day Week, or have a clue who Little Jimmy Osmond was (let alone the song that made him a chart-topper that year)?
Here at Unum, we remember 1973 very well. Because that’s the year we started working with our longest-standing Premier customer, Pinsent Masons. The world of work and our businesses have evolved significantly over the past 50 years, but key to the success of this long-running partnership has been the unwavering focus and value we place on people. Unum and Pinsent Masons are both completely aligned in our desire to create a healthy, inspiring working environment focused on inclusion and wellbeing.
Today we provide a combination of Group Income Protection, Life and Critical Illness Cover to more than 3,000 staff and partners at this international law firm. “The ethos of the Premier team is to create a long-term partnership that drives meaningful employee engagement, supporting employees when they need it most,” explains Gen Major, Unum Premier Accounts Manager. “We work closely with clients like Pinsent Masons so we can develop tailored support based on what the business and its employees really need. Since the pandemic we have focused on providing early intervention through in-work support for employees with neurodiverse needs.”
Pinsent Masons takes employee wellbeing incredibly seriously. Long before the pandemic hit, Pinsent Masons already ensured employees achieved a positive work/life balance through hybrid working, and the company uses a number of specialist suppliers to deliver a wide range of health and wellbeing services.
Pinsent Masons’ Reward and Benefits Manager, Lindsey Cooper, tells us that the firm is refreshing its global benefit strategy — ensuring employees’ diverse needs are catered for, streamlining the services available and proactively communicating with staff about the wealth of support on offer and how they can access it.
Following the transformation of Help@hand in April to 2023, Pinsent Masons decided the time was right to roll out Unum’s award-winning health and wellbeing app. The inclusion of unlimited mental health support1 proved too valuable to ignore, given Pinsent Masons staff operate in a highly stressful environment.
“With everything being in one place, Help@hand provides us with a truly holistic wellbeing solution,” explains Lindsey. "It’s proved hugely successful — we’ve had such good feedback — and this set up makes sense for us, as the virtual GP service is associated so strongly with PMI that’s where people naturally turn. We’ve always seen high usage figures for our Employee Assistance Programme, so we know our employees appreciate added-value services. It’s telling that since we rolled out the service, 43% of the consultations booked have been for mental health issues, 29% for nutrition support and 20 for physiotherapy.”
1 For mild to moderate issues. Number of sessions subject to clinical appropriateness. Should the service be no longer suitable, users will be directed to alternative appropriate support
It’s clear that Pinsent Masons works hard to provide and promote the right wellbeing services to their employees, and they’re open to new ideas and new ways of working to help them deliver. Introducing an annual roundtable event with all healthcare providers was a great opportunity to look at usage data and demand, using that to plan for what employees really need. It’s exactly the kind of collaborative working that Unum loves. “I do think Unum comes really well prepared to work with the other providers to help us develop a holistic offering,” says Lindsey. “We’re all concentrated on developing a wellbeing offering from Pinsent Masons, rather than each provider simply putting their particular product on the table.”
Unum was delighted to return the favour recently, inviting Lindsey to attend one of our small customer panel discussions. Her insights into the topics of mental and financial wellbeing, as well as the increasing diversity of workforces and how employers can support their staff were invaluable.
Partnership is key to good wellbeing delivery, and it’s an area that Lindsey and her team are keen to develop. Pinsent Masons and the Unum team maintain regular contact, with a monthly review to discuss all live claims and anything else that crops up. “That regular contact means we can keep HR informed of what’s going on, and they in turn can let the employee know,” says Lindsey. “It also means we can keep each other up to date with the latest wellbeing trends and areas that require attention.” Unum’s Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants are on hand to provide recommendations to the company and employees on how to manage working environments and practices, resulting in employees who are struggling being better able to stay in, or return to, work.
Pinsent Masons fully supports a diverse and inclusive culture and has a strong focus on employee networks. These include wellbeing (of course), disability, menopause and neurodiversity. Interestingly, it is this last cohort which is currently benefitting from one of Unum’s best used services in the company.
“Helping employees (and recruiting individuals with) neurodiversity is high on our agenda — understanding how we can support people with neurodiverse conditions to thrive in the workplace is an important part of our wellbeing strategy,” explains Lindsey. In 2022 the company scooped an award for its neurodiversity recruitment initiative, and it continues to develop new ways to support. “We’ve been using Unum’s dyslexia vocational assessments since 2017, and they’ve helped so many of our employees,” continues Lindsey. “The vocational rehabilitation support from Unum means we can put measures in place to help employees and partners who are working with conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia and dyslexia. It means these employees can perform to the very best of their abilities. This is just one of the ways in which Unum has been able to offer tailored support to our employees.”
Pinsent Masons’ uptake of our Dyslexia Vocational Evaluations is a great example of an employer empowered to take a proactive approach thanks to their provider’s latest proposition developments. This is also evident in other collaborative measures, such as our dedicated joint workshop for the company, which explained how our early intervention and rehab services can help keep people well and in work, as well as getting them back to work if an absence proves unavoidable.
Fifty years is a long time. In an industry where employers are always looking for the best suppliers, it’s highly unusual, if not unheard of, for one company to stick with a provider for this long. So what’s the secret of the Pinsent Masons/Unum bond?
“I just think we work well together,” says Lindsey. “We both want the best for employees and we both take a very flexible approach to how we do it. Unum is always developing new services to support people; sometimes these are bespoke to us based on feedback we’ve given to Unum. You really understand our business and we can always rely on the right support to roll out these services.”
Beth Husted, Unum’s own Wellbeing & Customer Experience Manager, adds: “We love partnering with our customers so we can understand their concerns, and work with them to deliver a consistent, high-quality service that truly meets their needs. Working with Pinsent Masons is a pleasure, because they’re open to making changes and trying new things. It’s all about helping staff stay in, or return to, work — from working together on their health and wellbeing strategy to supporting with financial benefits when they’re needed.”
Unum’s relationship with Pinsent Masons is an extremely special one; it’s no surprise that they were the first client our CEO Mark Till visited when he joined the company in 2021. Given the incredible synergy between our two companies, we’re committed to continue working alongside Pinsent Masons to support and improve workplace wellbeing for a very long time to come.
Unparalleled. Innovative. Impactful. With high-quality services, Unum’s health and wellbeing app Help@hand makes a real difference to employees. Available to Unum Group Income Protection, Group Life and Group Critical Illness policyholders.