The Works is consistently ranked as a great place to work and takes its people-first culture seriously.
Improving mental health meant moving beyond the standard corporate wellness benefits to a proactive training and support program. People and Talent Coordinator, Megan Errity, shares the agency’s progress.
Why did The Works decide to tackle mental health as an action area?
As we all know, mental health challenges are faced by everyone at one point or another.
The topic of mental health is rife in our industry, with the last Create Space Census showing how high the stats are for ongoing stress, anxiety and depression – 28% of us are affected by a mental health condition and only 1 in 3 of these people inform their employer.
The industry has often failed people with burnout, deadlines, pressure, and expectations. As a people-first business, we wanted to show that working in an industry you love without compromising your mental state was possible.
Our agency felt it was a priority to invest in this area. Whether in their personal or professional lives, we wanted to provide resources for our staff to access when they need extra support.
Who from the agency was involved? How long was the process?
While we have a robust set of employee wellbeing benefits, we focused on changing behaviours rather than promoting cures.
The Create Space Action Plan urges all businesses to read and sign the Mentally Healthy Minimum Standards, holding ourselves to account for putting mental health first.
These standards also provide many ideas for proactively supporting people at work.
To drive our integrated program, we formed a Wellness Champions Team, who are all Mental Health First Aid certified.
This took a few months to organise but it ensures we have people on the ground who are trained to spot the signs of mental health struggles and burnout so we can shift from reactive to proactive support.
Wellness Champions also have one-on-one sessions with every new starter to build trust and demonstrate we are serious about protecting everyone’s mental health, dispel any stigma about this issue, and encourage open conversations.
Beyond Mental Health First Aid, we decided to invest in the training and accreditation of one of our team members as an in-house mindset coach. We aim to empower our people to overcome challenges and cultivate a resilient mindset by scheduling these three-month coaching programs.
Statistics inform us that a poor manager is one of the most significant stresses in the workplace. So we put all our leaders through the Brené Brown “Dare to Lead” accreditation – to ensure our team learn how to become inspiring and empathetic leaders, ensuring their team has a positive mental experience.
Any useful tips, advice or resources that might help other agencies?
- Ensure staff training, particularly in mental health, is on your priority list. i.e. – Mental Health First Aid training
- Always strive to challenge what workplace mental well-being looks like. How can you support staff beyond the norm?
- Approach mental health offerings in an ‘always on’ capacity
- Continuously strive to foster a psychologically safe culture within your agency
Have you noticed any improvements since implementing this action?
We scored a 93% NPS level in a recent all-staff survey, showing an increased staff satisfaction rate year on year.
In the same survey, 100% of staff said they were made to feel welcome/comfortable when they first joined the agency.
100% also said they feel comfortable conversing openly and honestly with their line manager.
From the coaching sessions, 100% of participants felt it has had a significant impact on them.
We will continue to measure and monitor these data points, as this is critical to any behaviour change initiative. This is also why the Create Space initiative is so important.
The Create Space Census is open until November 28 2023, to chart the ad industry’s progress on diversity and inclusion. Jump onto createspacecensus.com to complete the 15-minute survey and join us in making Adland a more inclusive place to work! Click here.