Retail card services organisation Suresite offers mental health support to its 49 employees through its Chamber cash plan, provided by healthcare insurer Westfield Health. The plan, which is for British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) accredited and affiliated member organisations, includes access to a 24-hour advice line, face-to-face counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions.
The organisation works hard to promote the cash plan, using posters and notices displayed around the office, says Janine Wilson, HR manager at Suresite: “I first noticed it as soon as I walked into the office; there’s a lot of promotion about how to increase wellbeing as an individual.”
Posters in the canteen also focus on specific topics each month, covering both physical and mental health. Featured subjects typically include diabetes, cancer, healthy eating or encouraging regular breaks.
Suresite makes use of the statistics made available by Westfield Health around usage of the cash plan, so that it can demonstrate the support using real-life examples. “We share success stories, obviously not naming names, but giving information to show that it does work and that we’ve had X number of people who have used it,” Wilson explains.
These stories are communicated to employees using face-to-face feedback, a six-monthly update presentation on the organisation’s future vision, and a weekly all-employee catch up meeting, which is relayed by video conference for those who work remotely. This meeting is also recorded for anyone unable to view it on the day.
When employees do suffer from mental health issues, there is a strong emphasis on ensuring they have fully recovered when they return to work, and discovering whether there is anything else that Suresite can do to help. “I’ve changed the one-to-one process recently, so the questions are quite open and relaxed,” says Wilson. “We shouldn’t just want to know how people are doing at work, but also in their personal lives, because if we can make an adjustment at work to make their lives easier, it makes a huge difference, not only to their wellbeing but to productivity as well.”
The next step is to train line managers in mental health awareness; this is expected to take place next quarter. “There are mental health first-aid courses that myself and managers can go on, to really understand what the employee is going through, how to spot the early signs of any conditions, and any steps we should be taking to support the employee,” she says. “That’s my next step.”