Managing mental health in a high performance culture. Malcolm Hollis are commercial building consultants operating in the UK, Ireland and Mainland Europe. They have a long-established reputation for offering practical, commercially-minded expert advice spanning all property sectors.
Beginning conversations around mental health
As one of the largest and most successful Insurance Broking and Risk Management companies, THB has offices in London, Cheltenham, East Grinstead and Peterborough.
With a male-dominated workforce, conversations around mental health were surrounded with discomfort, and with a view they weren’t part of working life. As a result, their HR team knew they needed to step in and weave the topic of mental health into their learning and development strategy, in a bid to remove the stigma and normalize conversations.
The fix to their issue was twofold.
Firstly, they needed to increase company-wide awareness and understanding of mental health, dispel any outlandish myths, and outline preferred language for people to use. By adopting all these steps, they hoped to create an environment where employees felt comfortable raising issues and talking about mental health.
Secondly, they wanted to focus on how their managers dealt with employees who approached them with mental health concerns by building on their existing skill levels and ensuring they fully understood their responsibility and duty of care.
THB came to us and asked if we could build a bespoke awareness raising workshop for all the lines managers across their sites. Sessions were delivered by our facilitators to 16 managers at a time with the following objectives;
- An understanding of mental health in the workplace;
- An overview of Duty of Care under the Equality Act, and how their role plays a part in it;
- Tips on how to notice changes, have healthy conversations, plus internal and external signposting; and
- Relevant case studies to offer practical learning opportunities.
After the workshop was rolled out to all line managers, with some tweaks and adaptations, it was also extended to all non-line managers.
The final phase of their solution was to run another workshop for managers, but this time centred around how to have positive conversations around mental health – like asking open questions and really listening.
THB went on to make this course mandatory and now run it biannually to ensure their entire work force has an opportunity to attend.
Almost all of THB’s workforce have been exposed to support around mental health in the workplace. Since the workshops’ inception, 479 employees have joined their awareness-raising class, and 123 managers have sat in on their further skills sessions, helping to normalize conversations around mental health.
With the number of employees self-reporting a problem on the rise, our program has also led to an increase in referrals to THB’s Employee Assistance Helpline.
Now, both managers and employees are more confident when it comes to handling issues and obtaining support.
Our programme was received incredibly well throughout all levels of the business and has since been embedded into its day-to-day working culture. Conversations around mental health are more open and frequent, their Allies continue to grow and drive awareness, and they’ve even shared their experience with others across the industry.
The latter was to encourage companies to consider their approach and actually involved a campaign with ‘Book of Man’ swaying organisations to introduce Allies, and introduce a number of events for the industry and their clients.
Rosalino Walsh, Head of Learning and Operations at THB, said: “Mental Health at Work have built and delivered a customised programme for us, which reflects both the culture and operational needs of our business.
“As experts in workplace mental health, they continue to support us on our journey to normalise conversations around mental health.”
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