Building a support network across the UK and Europe

Lumen are a multinational technology company headquartered in the U.S with a mission to further human progress through technology. Lumen deliver a fast, secure global platform for applications and data to help businesses, governments and communities deliver “amazing experiences”. The company has 47 offices spanning 30+ countries and employ more than 38,000 staff.

The issue

We began our partnership with Lumen through its UK region in 2018. The HR team had noticed instances of absence due to mental health issues. They wanted to support their UK Manager population to feel confident to talk about mental health with their team from an early stage so that individuals could be signposted and supported.

Lumen recognised that Managers were ideally positioned to notice changes in their staff and had the opportunity to check-in with anyone that they were concerned about. The UK region had a variety of supports in place to support mental health alongside its HR team, including an EAP, a flexible portal of benefits and a phased return to work policysupported by HR.

However, there was an understandable hesitancy amongst some of the Manager population to start having these conversations. Partly due to a lack of confidence, sometimes due to a perception that they might “make things worse” and sometimes because of a lack of understanding about mental health and mental illness.

The solution

In partnership with Lumen’s Insurance provider Generali, who funded 50% of the cost, Mental Health at Work designed a customised programme for UK Managers at Lumen to raise awareness about workplace mental health and to address stigma and myth. Reaching 168 Managers who attended a 120-minute face to face workshop with us across Lumen’s UK office locations.

The next step

Having successfully started to build the confidence of Managers to notice and act if they had concerns about their team members, Lumen wanted to explore how it could embed further knowledge and skill to support employee mental health as well as to meet the growing interest of Managers to support their people. Lumen wanted to expand its resources so that anyone at the company, whatever their seniority, could have someone to talk to about their mental health at the point of need and recognising that not everyone wanted to talk to their manager or HR. The global pandemic further brought the need to focus on employee mental health as an integral part of day-to-day business, into sharp focus.

Well-Being Allies at Lumen

With the support of Mental Health at Work, Lumen advertised it’s plans to create a network of Well-Being Allies who would be there to listen and signpost any employee who needed to talk about their mental health. Following a selection process in 2020, 17 Well-Being Allies were selected to create this important new resource for the UK business.

Mental Health at Work were mindful of the pressures that the pandemic was placing on employees, juggling their day jobs alongside other responsibilities and sometimes working from a challenging home space environment. Our MHaW Mental Health Allies® programme was adjusted to enable shorter learning periods over a slightly longer timespan, giving these 17 volunteers all the skills and confidence that they needed to become expert listeners and signposters around mental health.

Engagement with Senior Leadership at Lumen in the UK was robust, with a senior sponsor for the programme identified and the opportunity for the new Well Being Allies to spend time feeding back their ideas and requests to support the success of the new network from the outset. This included launch plans, internal communication, networking opportunities and an outline Charter for the new Allies.

A European Focus

Following on from the success of the UK Well-Being Allies programme, Lumen turned its attention to its European offices. With a rapid expansion in its eastern European locations, Lumen wanted to enhance its well-being support structure to encompass all staff across Europe. It was recognised that creating a Well Being Allies network for Europe would present some slightly different challenges to the UK market and needed to be carefully planned.

Scoping to build success

Mental Health at Work undertook a scoping exercise to ascertain the readiness to talk about mental health across Lumen’s different European offices, to account for both cultural nuance and openness about the topic. The results of the scoping influenced the content of the European Well Being Allies programme and ensured that Lumen recruited a representative network of Allies who could provide support and signposting across their European offices.

A European Solution

During June 2021, 13 European Allies met with Mental Health at Work for virtual training. Learning was extended over 3 shorter days to ensure that the pace took account of attendees having English as a second language.

At the end of the virtual workshops attendees had created their own Charter for Action for the European Well Being Allies network and were clear on their “asks” from the business to embed for success. Mental Health at Work facilitated a follow-on feedback session with senior stakeholders to further their engagement with the programme and garner their commitment to both future sponsorship and practical support. The European and UK Allies are now working together to embed their presence across the EMEA region.

The proof

Lumen is proud of how it has begun to change the conversation around mental health and Mental Health at Work has been both critical to this and the foundation of our ’’journey’’.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Mental Health at Work over the last 3 years, welcoming their expertise and tailored approach – they have become our partners. This has helped us to extend our wellbeing offering across countries and cultures in an impactful way as we seek to provide support around mental health to all of our employees, and we look forward to the possibility of working with them again in the future’’.

Christina Wade, Senior Director, Human Resources EMEA.

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