With October featuring Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day and Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, better workplace mental health is top of mind for many organizations. CivicAction reached out to organizations to see how they’re taking action. Read what the Bank of Canada is doing in this Q&A with Sylvie Latulippe, Director, Wellness and Employee Relations, Human Resources.
Tell us about a change your organization is taking to improve workplace mental health.
In the last two years, the Bank has made significant progress on supporting employee wellness, with a focus on mental health. In 2018, the Bank rolled out a new wellness strategy – with mental wellbeing one of four key pillars – that identifies key metrics, guides decision-making, and shapes programming related to mental health at the Bank.
The strategy is connected to and reinforces the Bank’s broader Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Programming, education, and awareness activities around Diversity and Inclusion are designed with workplace mental health in mind—with the goal to equip leaders and employees to support an employee with a mental disorder, and to reduce the stigma and misconceptions related to invisible disabilities.
In that context, the Bank has launched and refreshed several programs that support mental health:
The new Employee and Family Assistance (EFAP) program can be accessed through multiple channels (including a mobile app, website and call centre) and offers everything from bite-sized self-assessment tools and short video tips, to in-person counselling services. These services are regularly promoted through outreach to leaders, information sessions, and Bank-wide communications.
The Total Health Index is a third-party survey tool that employees can use to assess their own wellness, including mental health.Employees get a score on this dimension, along with a personalized action plan and links to resources. Meanwhile, the aggregate reporting gives the Bank information to plan additional programming to address potential and emerging issues across the organization.
This tool was launched during a new, annual Wellness Month, used to raise awareness of wellness topics and tools, with one week focused on mental health. This program is part of the ongoing communications that help point employees to just-in-time resources. For example, this year the Bank leveraged its enterprise license to LinkedIn Learning to promote a curated collection on building individual resilience during Mental Health Week.
The Bank also revised key policies to include terminology and reporting mechanisms to support a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. These include the Bank’s policy on Violence and Harassment Prevention in the Workplace with new, clarified ways to report incidents of psychological harassment, bullying or violence, and the Safe and Healthy Workplace policy that promotes a workplace environment that supports psychological health and safety.
As well, a dashboard was developed to give Managing Directors visibility into work climate pressures in their departments, for possible discussion and action planning among leaders.