Malcolm Hollis

Managing mental health in a high performance culture

Malcolm Hollis are commercial building consultants operating in the UK, Ireland and Mainland Europe. They have a long-established reputation for offering practical, commercially-minded expert advice spanning all property sectors.

The issue

There was a recognition that in a high performing competitive environment, Malcolm Hollis had the opportunity to reposition mental health within their workplace as an asset. The tone was set from the very top of the organisation with unanimous support from Partners for a 12 month initial programme. Malcolm Hollis are passionate believers that having invested in recruiting the right individuals within the organisation that People Managers should work to ensure that these individuals are supported to remain in the workplace though any periods of fluctuating mental health.

The answer

Malcolm Hollis have worked with Mental Health at Work in implementing a robust and rigorous customised programme around mental health, taking People Managers through a leadership development day and supporting this with ‘Mental Health Champions’ providing additional training in listening and signposting, acting as advocates within the firm. This programme has helped to embed mental health as an ongoing aspect of working life bringing parity with physical health, addressing myths, and equipping all individuals with language and skills to manage mental health

The solution

Malcolm Hollis implemented a facilitated mental health leadership development day for managers and partners across all sites, running workshops of up to 16 people and reaching reaching 74 people, accounting for 94% of their people managers.

Learning outcomes were agreed in advance and focussed on establishing preferred language around mental health, adding to knowledge around mental health and mental illness, address attitudes and myths, encourage leaders to talk openly, consider ways to respond, equip individuals with skills to manage mental health issues within their role, address responsibility and duty of care, address ways in which to address individual mental health issues and performance, signposting to resources within and external to the firm.

A key learning methodology was the development of a bespoke and relevant case study, illustrating an example of a colleague exhibiting declining performance, untypical behaviours and where there were concerns about mental health and their reluctance to talk about this. This was used as a vehicle to explore and discuss openly live issues in the workplace.

The impact

This programme gave the basis for a firm-wide focus on mental health. This has included the inclusion as part of the existing leadership training curriculum, an awareness programme including expert speakers at firm wide events and Mental Health Champions, trained to act as an internal resources and advocates within the firm, available for staff to discuss any related issue, which they may not initially want to talk to their line manager about. This is not a counselling role, but rather a listening and signposting role.

Additionally, Performance Review and 1:1 templates have all been changed to include wellbeing as part of the agenda.

Agreed reasonable adjustments have become more commonplace across the firm, to support individuals to manage their own mental health. An example of this is an individual, working in a city centre office, who experienced sudden and unexplained onset of anxiety attacks and one impact of this was that getting on public transport to work became impossible. Malcolm Hollis moved his office location so that they were able to cycle or walk to work.

Another young individual with a history of depression had a sudden recurrence and moved back to their family for support. Malcolm Hollis arranged for their phased return to work to begin in a regional office until they were well enough to return. They are now back at work and are in full health.

In addition to this, employees are given time off to go to counselling sessions and in many occasions additional sessions will be funded by the firm when EAP support has been maximised.
This gives all employees the opportunity to thrive with the full support of the organisation and avoids issues becoming a more serious barrier to work or requiring long term absence.  The organisation then maximises an expensive recruitment process and retains talented individuals.

The proof

I am very impressed with the quality of delivery, content and relevance of the training provided by Mental Health at Work – we have never seen such positive evaluation and feedback on a training course before. We have firm proof that changes have taken place immediately following attendance at the training and stigma is already diminishing, evidenced by employees feeling comfortable to come forward and talk about their own previously undisclosed experiences with mental health issues
Melanie Olrik, Human Resources Partner, Malcolm Hollis

It should be offered to all employees as part of leadership developmentAttendee 2016

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