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Best practice: Supporting mental health in the workplace

It’s important to practice what you preach. And given that we advise clients on mental health and wellbeing initiatives, it was important for us to make sure that our own house was in order too. Not only would this impact our staff in a positive way, but it sends a clear message to clients that we take our own advice.

Starting at the top
Getting senior buy-in to any workplace initiative is crucial to its long-term success. Our senior team not only signed off spend for multiple mental health wellbeing initiatives, but they remain advocates of the scheme – showcasing best practice and continued support daily.

Mental health training and forums
In early 2018, when championing the support of mental health in the workplace began in earnest, we ran Mind mental health training for 17 managers and their team leaders. Following this, the company worked closely with employees who wanted to share their own mental health journeys with others. Focus groups were then run to see how to do more, and from this, a number of workshops have been run throughout the company, covering a range of health and wellbeing topics, including stress.

The mental health training was so successful, that the business is hosting another session for a further 16 employees – primarily managers and sales staff. Overall 13% of our workforce will have been trained, enabling employees to provide first aid and support for people experiencing a mental health concern.

Holistic initiatives
Recognising that mental health support is ongoing, we put in place multiple holistic initiatives to support our employees in a variety of ways. These include:

>Health kiosks– annually held on site, these provide employees with the opportunity to stay on top of their physical wellbeing. Providing a snapshot of physical health – such as monitoring BMI and blood pressure – it tackles potential hidden health concerns. As physical and mental health are inextricably linked, this holistic approach supports mental health too.

>Employee benefits– including company-funded group life assurance, private medical insurance and employee assistance programmes – supporting financial, physical and mental wellbeing.

>Monthly committees- called ‘Your Voice’, this creates a forum for employees to discuss any issues pertinent to their working life, from operational matters to charity events to physical and mental health and wellbeing initiatives.

>Wellbeing Ethos – which publicises the company’s commitment to supporting mental health.

Benchmarking and celebrating success
To ensure that our efforts were having a positive impact, we signed up to Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index, to benchmark our progress and identify any opportunities to do more. The Index, which involves in-depth surveys with members of staff across the company, found that our work has had a great influence. We ranked particularly highly in key assessment areas, including ‘Culture and engagement’ (encouraging good work/life balance for example) and ‘Support’ (such as, providing time off if required or making workplace adjustments). Our efforts have been further recognised, having recently achieved a Silver Award in Mind’s “Workplace Wellbeing Awards 2018/2019”.

We recognise that supporting mental health is crucial to staff wellbeing and business success. Having support from the top team, and an engaged workforce contributing new ideas, means that initiatives implemented leave a positive and lasting imprint. As our understanding of mental health deepens, we strive to find new ways to ensure that the wellbeing of our employees remains a business priority.   

Brett Hill – Managing Director, The Health Insurance Group

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