Providing a Positive Working Environment
Last year for World Mental Health Day we released a Mental Health Toolkit through our How’s Business Growth Hub in order to encourage a positive wellbeing culture within small and medium enterprises. This spring, through March to May, we are using the toolkit to conduct our own internal Mental Health Campaign. This blog post from our Communications Assistant and leader of the campaign, Mark Rolland, records his day spent with Mindful Employer and LEP Skills delivery partner, Your Consortium.
The CEO of Your Consortium, Sam Alexander, who is also a member of both our main LEP and Skills and Employability boards, is personally committed to transforming her company culture to one of openness around mental health. One of Sam’s first acts as CEO was to pledge to being a Mindful Employer, demonstrating a commitment to the mental wellbeing of staff and to providing a positive working environment, so a visit to Your Consortium was a great opportunity to have in preparation for our own Mental Health Campaign.
I spent a day with Sam and her team exploring what difference Sam’s approach has made to working at Your Consortium. As I met the members of the team, the first impression was of a group of people who clearly enjoyed each other’s company and cared about each other. Moreover, they were all comfortable in talking about their own experience with mental health and were confident they knew exactly what they would do if they had a problem.
Whilst not every member of the team had a recognised mental health condition or even felt the need to raise a personal problem at work, they were unanimous in their support of the openness around mental health. For those with a mental health condition it meant they knew they could always turn to someone and know that they would be taken seriously, and be confident that any adjustments would be made in order for them to realise their potential. For those without a mental health issue, they could see the positive effects it had for their colleagues and it gave them piece of mind that they would always have help if something were to develop.
My final question to each member of the team was “After your experience at Your Consortium, if you needed to seek a new employer in the future, what would you look for?” Once again the response was unanimous that they would look for a Mindful Employer, or at the very least one that encouraged openness about mental health. It was clear that the culture of openness had created a strong sense of loyalty to the company which will attract and keep talented people and decrease staff turnover.
The first month of our internal Mental Health Campaign will cover How to identify and help others with mental health problems and I will share the progress of the campaign here. If you would like to find out more about how to create a positive working environment around mental health, a great place to start is our Mental Health Toolkit which you can download here.