KPMG is committed to providing a diverse and inclusive working environment where everyone can bring their ‘whole selves’ to work. Tony Cates, UK Head of Audit and a member of our executive committee, puts it like this: “We need to ensure that all our people are healthy and able to reach their full potential. This not only means encouraging physical health, but also helping to make sure our people’s mental health is strong”.
A raft of services underpin this aim. In addition to the EAP there is a health and wellbeing suite at our Canary Wharf office, managed by Nuffield Health; a rehabilitation service, which helps colleagues return to work; a 25% discount off the mindfulness app Headspace; access to talking therapies through the private medical insurance scheme; and training programmes and guidance documents on resilience and managing pressure.
We also champion various mental health awareness events. We have run mindfulness sessions and have shared mindfulness techniques with colleagues via the company screensaver and through The Hub, our internal social networking platform. We have also held drop-in sessions with our Nuffield Health experts, who recommended strategies for optimising daily mood, health and wellbeing; and run presentations by our occupational health physician on personal resilience and supporting others. Other events have included a yoga class, a resilience webinar and breakfast events where people can have informal, friendly conversations about mental health within our supportive network of colleagues.
We regularly host ‘inclusion week’, which included three events throughout our UK offices in 2015 focusing on mental health in general as well as specific areas such as depression, anxiety and how to lead healthier working and social lives.
In 2016 we had around 500 people attend events throughout the year. Topics ranged from how businesses can learn from the ‘battlefield’ and the MoD’s resilience policy, through to eating disorders and mental health in relation to disability and LGBT issues. We’ve also begun to offer more sessions on mindfulness within our offices, and have received very positive feedback. And we recently launched our This is Me campaign.
Partners have gone through the ‘Performance Optimisation Programme’, which aims to help them stay physically and mentally well and therefore work smarter, and support others to do the same. This programme is complemented by a new training programme for ‘people leaders’. All these things help to ‘normalise’ mental health.
It’s very difficult to measure the results of these initiatives, which is the challenge that CMHA is seeking to address with research. There is no silver bullet, but we use a wide range of different tools to get a feel – from our annual employee engagement survey, to EAP data and referrals to OH and further counselling. Where the latter have gone up we see that as positive as it suggests a greater willingness to talk about mental health problems.
The culture has definitely changed. Three years ago we had two senior people talking about this, and they were inundated with people wanting to talk to them. Since then momentum has built and we have more and more people coming forward offering to share their stories – which is what led to the creation of our ‘BeMindful’ employee network (which Tony Cates sponsors). Since we introduced it two years ago it has gained 600 members. We held a breakfast session earlier in 2016 in one of our offices, and it was attended by 150 people, which is amazing. That’s a complete turnaround. People are seeing their colleagues being supported with counselling or changed working practices, and that is encouraging more to speak out.