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.
Creating an environment for open conversations
Puma Energy is a fully integrated global energy company. Singaporean owned, with operations in 47 countries, this case study around workplace mental health, covers UK
The HR team recognised that within this traditionally male industry that there was still a stigma around mental health with a reluctance to discuss openly. Team leaders and managers were not clear on how to manage mental health as part of their roles.
The team recognised that within this highly safety conscious, pressurised environment, that there were significant benefits in equipping employees with both the knowledge, confidence and skills to change this; a position which was embraced from the very top, starting with the UK leadership team.
The UK team is located across 6 sites, Milford Haven, Bristol, Theale, Paddington, Newport and Belfast and roles, management structure and challenges vary across each of these, so it was important that workshops were very tailored. Delivery was a mix of face to face and virtual facilitated workshops.
MHaW developed a tailored programme for Puma Energy, which started with an Executive Briefing, followed by a Manage workshop to bring skills to line managers for their role. Based on excellent feedback, this was extended to further sessions for the remaining line managers supported
The workshops focussed on outcomes around understanding mental health within the workplace, including raising awareness of mental health and mental health issues, how to manage, beginning by building skills and confidence to have conversations with colleagues regarding mental health.
The team recognised that to make this a success at Puma Energy, open conversations needed to feel natural and that leaders and managers felt able to continue to consider the competing issues and demands in the industry including shift working, gender split and concerns around medical treatments and/or recreational use of drugs and alcohol, particularly in safety critical roles, alongside mental health needs. The workshops also focussed on any further potential barriers to embedding a mental health programme.
The workshops were adapted to specific roles using a mix of theory and practical methodologies to embed the learning.
This was supplemented with Understand sessions for all employees which in addition to language and literacy around mental health, also specifically addressed ‘stress’, including an explanation and the role it can play in early signalling for support and signposting. Situational anxiety in relation to Covid-19 was also included.
These virtual workshops were tailored to the audience, and the location of their teams, reflecting how conversations with virtual team members may change in these environments. Puma Energy provided examples of ‘day in the life’ walk-throughs which helped the Mental Health at Work team understand the specific issues for operatives working on site and incorporate practical examples into the workshops.
The programme to date at Puma Energy has included Executive Briefings, Manage workshops for 48 managers and team leaders and virtual Understand awareness sessions for 90 employees.
The team are now considering rollout out a Mental Health Allies programme which will provide an expert listening and signposting service to consolidate the progress to date.
Feedback from all the sessions has been excellent with comments used to continue to evolve and develop content in all workshops.
The workshops have been very well received across the business, equally across both face to face and virtual formats for both home workers and terminal operatives.
The learning outcomes, as expected, showed a variation across the cohorts; for terminal operatives the most significant was an increased awareness of other’s mental health and the importance of not making assumptions or judging. For home workers, the focus was primarily on taking responsibility for their own mental health within the current environment. For all groups the workshops provided the increased confidence to engage in conversations around their own and other’s mental health.
“Mental Health at Work have delivered a comprehensive face to face and virtual programme at Puma Energy, which specifically meets our needs as a business. From scoping sessions, through pilot and onto rollout, the team have ensured that each workshop is customised to focus on the critical learning outcomes for that cohort, recognising the challenges of our business units and the gender split. The sessions were very well received, and the unique facilitative style has translated very well into a virtual delivery format. We’ve been delighted with how the programme has evolved and we are looking forward to the next development” Joanne Thomas – UK People & Culture Manager
“It was critical to the success of our programme at Puma Energy that our Executive Team were fully informed, to enable us to support both the rollout to all staff and our ongoing process to embed in our culture. Mental Health at Work were very responsive, listening to our need and tailoring content to ensure that this was a very valuable use of the team’s time” Roy Brooke – General Manager/Director
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