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MindsMatter Action: Deloitte

Mental Health: More than a check-box exercise

By: Sarika Gundu, Sr. Manager, Benefits & Wellness, Deloitte

In 2011, mental health illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover (Mental Health Commission of Canada). Deloitte believes that supporting our people’s wellness is not just about our bottom line, it’s simply the right and smart thing to do.

Deloitte is often asked about our experience with supporting wellness at the firm. The organization is still on its journey; however, it wanted to share some of the questions they’re are asked about the most.

Q: What does Deloitte do to engage its people about their mental health?

A:  Last year we took action by asking our people to complete a Total Health Index Survey, which allowed us to get a better sense of our people’s overall wellness: physical, mental, life, and workplace. Using the findings, in addition to other data we’ve collected from our people, we’re designing innovative wellness initiatives while also re-evaluating our people policies and current benefits offerings.

In an age where cellphones and laptops are always just an arms-length away, increasingly people are looking for flexible work arrangements. Last year, we released our refreshed value proposition, which is made-up of three commitments we make to our people. One of those commitments is that it’s ‘your work, your way.’ We understand that each person is unique, and we encourage them to work in the ways that best suit them. A big part of this is making well-being a priority, and encouraging our people to take necessary steps to ensure they’re mentally and physically well.

Q: What type of information should be collected and reviewed to understand employee wellness?

A:  The best way to learn about what your people are looking for is to ask them! Seems simple, but surveys, focus groups, team meetings, and team member check-ins are also a great way to do this.

Recognize what type of landscape your workplace currently is versus what your people aspire it to be. Then, strategize on ways you may be able to improve it. Sometimes it’s about taking what already exists and seeing how you can make it even better. Review more than just your employee data, also review your policies and benefits, and ask yourself if your people are really living your organization’s value proposition.

Q: How can organizations stay committed to supporting mental health?

A: Provide your people with tools and resources, and walk the talk. You may already have tools readily available to your people; sometimes it’s just about reminding them where they are. Take the time to let them know of the resources that they have at their fingertips, and also use them yourself to demonstrate your commitment to wellness.

During Mental Health Week in May of this year, we hosted various activities that were designed to help our people feel their best, and throughout the week we reminded them of the tools and resources – like meditation, the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), and our Recharge Centre – that are available to them when they need it all year-round.

Q: What should organizations consider when creating a wellness strategy?

A: Remember that creation, adoption, and results won’t happen overnight. You’re embarking on a journey that will take time. Set realistic goals and expectations so that you can effectively measure your impact and success. Ensure that your strategy is governed and is constantly evolving.

We implemented the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) at our firm. In order to accurately implement the Standard, we take a phased approach spanning over several years. We want to ensure we’re bringing a version of the Standard to life that is aligned to our value proposition and our people’s feedback.

Prioritizing wellness can help manage stress, improve emotional well-being, increase productivity, and reduce risk of illness. Life throws us challenges no matter who we are or where we work. That’s why it’s critical that employers help their people prioritize their wellness! So, what are you waiting for?!

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