Pressure is an integral part of the working week for many of Deloitte UK’s 12,000 employees, but, while many people flourish in such an environment, the organisation’s head of human resources, Stevan Rolls, is keen to ensure it does not lead to any unpleasant consequences.
“People do enjoy the challenge this environment brings, but we need to ensure they are able to manage the pressure and prevent it having a negative impact on their health,” he says.
To do this, Deloitte provides its employees with courses to help them build robustness. For example, all partners are sent on a course called Sharpening Your Edge, where they learn psychological, nutritional and physical strategies to sustain high performance under pressure.
Stress management is also an important part of Deloitte’s broader wellbeing agenda. This includes access to on-site gyms, doctors and sports and beauty therapists. “We have also set out to create a flexible working environment,” says Rolls. “Our focus is on output rather than input, so as long as employees achieve what is required, we don’t really mind how, when and where they do this.”
As well as supporting flexible-working arrangements, earlier this year Deloitte introduced a new initiative, Time Out, to help staff strike the right work-life balance. The scheme enables employees to take up to four weeks’ unpaid leave, if required.
These initiatives are underpinned by an open approach to mental health problems which is championed by former Deloitte partner John Binns, who is now a trustee at charity Mind. Rolls adds: “By encouraging senior employees to talk about mental health issues, we have created a culture where employees know it’s okay to talk about stress.”