Back in 2015, we noticed a huge rise in the number of conversations we were having with our people around mental health concerns.
So, we acted.
We introduced an EAP scheme and sent seven people across the business to complete mental health first aider training. We also launched our employee well-being champions and ran wellbeing weeks throughout the year.
Although this was never a box-ticking exercise for us, it felt like it in some respects as we were yet to design a strategy to offer our support around the holistic side of well-being.
In 2019, we came across Time to Change Wales and saw an opportunity to develop our support across the business, so signed up to their pledge. This involved us creating commitments to end mental health discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, COVID delayed us signing the pledge and meant we faced a new challenge of delivering this commitment with the pandemic and working remotely.
Again, we acted.
This summer, we put together our objectives and vision for our mental health and well-being strategy for Circle. This was a deep dive into all thing’s well-being: what did it really mean? How could we support our people? Where were our gaps? We were determined to ensure our strategy included any possible factor that could affect our people.
With the support of our monthly employee survey system, we had lots of data to show how our people were feeling. We then used this data to find ways to ensure our employees were feeling satisfied with the new working arrangements. Utilising our Microsoft Teams platform, we introduced 10 at 10’s. This consisted of a chat at 10 O’clock for teams to get together and share a coffee with a general chit-chat which helped bring a sense of normality into remote working for our people.
We consistently listened to feedback and continue to put our efforts toward ensuring everyone is well looked after. Following this, we have received huge compliments across the company on the support we have provided during the pandemic and our continuous, strong communication.
Our gap analysis showed us we had some great things in place that have had an impact over the last five years, which have prevented many of our people’s challenges escalating or resulting in having to take time off. However, we did not appreciate the barriers people faced when talking about their mental health with managers or even HR. It was clear that we had great educational resources and tools, a great set of company policies and HR interventions, but didn’t have anything for ‘the people in the middle’. It wasn’t until people were feeling really unwell that we found out about it and could intervene. Something had to change!
We were already making sure our people knew they could come to us whenever they needed support, but there is still a stigma when it comes to mental health. This is not just company-wide, it’s worldwide. We also found when talking to people and through research that these feelings did not ‘come out of the blue.’ Most of these people who did become very unwell were feeling out of sorts for a while before we could support them.
Through our vast amount of research and reaching out to our people, we have taken a further step towards supporting their mental health and well-being. We have invested in a new platform where our people can access on-demand support with trained therapists. Through training courses or one to one therapy sessions anonymously and confidentially all of our people can receive the help and support they require. We wanted to capture those people ‘in the middle’ – those that were feeling like they needed to talk but didn’t know quite where to turn and were in danger of escalating to the higher tiers of being unwell.
We are proud of the investments we have made in our people at Circle and we hope the new platform will provide services and support to help everyone, not just those who need it at the height of crisis.
Our aim is education and prevention, communication and support services for everyone. We are committed to investing in and supporting our most valuable assets – our people.
If you want to know more about our well-being partners or services you can contact our Head of People, we are always happy to share our experiences to help other businesses make a difference, if we all work together we can change the way we think about mental health in the workplace.
Want to find out more?
We are happy to answer any questions you might have.