Launching the first in a series of CMHA published case studies, we bring insight into how Aon, the risk management, insurance and human capital consulting business, is building and sustaining a mentally healthy workforce.
The approach taken by Aon, the risk management, insurance and human capital consulting business, to building and sustaining a mentally healthy workforce is to create an environment where everyone takes responsibility for making others feel valued and respected for who they are. This is manifested in its updated Diversity and Inclusion policy, which makes clear to colleagues that an inclusive environment, where people feel safe in seeking support and speaking up about mental health, is a top priority for the firm. This commitment is reinforced by the appointment of Katherine Conway into the new role of Head of Diversity & Inclusion and Community Affairs.
Communication and awareness-raising initiatives are aimed at changing the culture.
For example, Aon’s UK Diversity Council made ‘raising mental health awareness’ an objective in 2015, and activities include stress awareness sessions for managers across all regions, and ‘Building Resilience and Mental Health Boost’ sessions delivered in conjunction with its EAP provider.
The EAP offers colleagues support for any challenge life throws at them that affects their mental health. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, online and by phone. Colleagues may also choose to have face-to-face counselling, and other psychological support such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
All colleagues are offered a level of private healthcare cover that includes support for mental health conditions, and this cover can be extended to dependents. From January 2016, colleagues will be able to self-refer to Aon’s private healthcare provider’s Health Specialist Patient Support team; offering fast and convenient access to mental health support and treatment without the need for a GP referral.
Aon also has a global wellbeing strategy covering physical, emotional, financial and social health.
In October Aon was one of the promoters of the ‘Dive In Festival’, which focuses on the benefits of diversity and inclusion specifically in the insurance industry. And to mark World Mental Health Day a colleague agreed to share his personal story of mental illness, which was posted on the intranet, and the firm used this as an opportunity to remind all employees of the support it offers, using the strapline ‘Don’t suffer in silence’.
Katherine Conway says: “It’s really important to Aon that we look after colleagues’ mental, as well as physical, wellbeing. To achieve this, we’re driving an open and inclusive culture where it’s good to speak up and be listened to. There’s a lot of support available and the more we discuss mental health openly, the more colleagues will feel able to seek help and feel supported.”