Companies House – Gold employer 2017/18

Companies House are the first employer in Wales to achieve a gold award in our 2017/18 Workplace Wellbeing Index.

Hear from Emma Martin, Human Resources  Business Partner about their commitment to better mental health at work.

I have a two roles within Companies House including my main role as a Human Resources Business Partner, working in collaboration with staff and managers within the Customer Delivery Directorate. My other role is one of a team of a Mental Health Advocates, offering an information and signposting support service available to staff and managers.

We have always worked hard to place a strong focus on mental health and there was lots of good work taking place, however we needed to keep people talking about it. We already had a comprehensive suite of support mechanisms in place for all, including our in-house Occupational Health Advisor and Counsellors. Our Occupational Health provider also has a dedicated Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offering face to face, telephone and on-line support. We share knowledge and ideas on mental health initiatives with colleagues across the Civil Service within the Cross Government Mental Health Network, always looking at ways to improve and be more creative.

Time to Change Wales was the first national campaign set up to end stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. As such, in the autumn of 2017 we embraced the opportunity to sign the Time to Change Wales Employer Pledge and put our commitment into practical action.

Prior to the formal signing of the Pledge, I received communications from Mind regarding the Workplace Wellbeing Index and identified that this was an excellent opportunity for us. I created a business case for Senior Leaders to consider, highlighting the organisational benefits of the Workplace Wellbeing Index and the Time to Change Wales Employer Pledge.My proposals were fully supported and we progressed to commence both initiatives.

Signing the Time to Change Wales Employer Pledge just prior to promoting the Mind Index worked incredibly well for us; promoting our continued commitment to tackling mental health stigma and discrimination and to get people talking – then moving onto the Workplace Wellbeing Index and gaining our staff’s perspective on  our support for Mental Wellbeing. This all tied in very well with World Mental Health day in October.

"This was our first assessment and we gained the Gold award for “Achieving Excellence” in the Workplace Wellbeing Awards 2018."

This was our first assessment and we gained the Gold award for “Achieving Excellence” in the Workplace Wellbeing Awards 2018. I was thrilled with our achievement of Gold awards and this enabled us to be publicly recognised for our work so far, as well as becoming part of a movement for change in workplace mental health. Partaking in the Index has enabled us to celebrate our successes to-date, provided us with a framework in which to further enhance our initiatives by receiving recommendations from independent mental health experts, Mind.

"Bringing the Employer Pledge and the Mind Index to life is sitting firmly with our employees themselves."

Bringing the Employer Pledge and the Workplace Wellbeing Index to life is sitting firmly with our employees themselves. Staff and managers have participated in Mindfulness training courses and taster sessions, as well as Fresh Air Coaching sessions which have both received excellent feedback. 

The organisation has two Time to Change Employee Champions who communicate their personal stories and the campaign, both externally and within Companies House. We also now have twenty Employee Champions who drive forward change internally through tackling stigma and instigating initiatives to improve well-being among fellow employees. In addition, some of our most powerful messaging has come from employees willing to share their stories by blogging their experiences, (including senior leaders). 

As part of our Index Action Plan we are providing refresher training for Mental Health Advocates as well as recruiting additional Advocates to bolster our mental health support network. Following recommendations from the Index, we are further enhancing our Stress Risk Assessment process and introducing a Companies House Passport, a personalised Wellness Action Plan which documents workplace adjustments for those with medical conditions and/or caring responsibilities.

We are also revising our return to work policy and procedure and enhance training for managers regarding disclosure of mental health conditions. Further to the action plan, we have also implemented a change management policy to ensure that people are at the forefront of our current organisational transformation programme. 

"We have a firm commitment to making a real difference to all our employees who are managing mental health problems."

We have a firm commitment to making a real difference to all our employees who are managing mental health problems. Working with Mind has been a very positive experience and they have truly assisted us in structuring our approach moving forward and to further enhance our support to all. I am extremely proud to work for an organisation who places such importance on employee wellbeing and I have seen a positive change in people willing to talk about mental health matters, creating an even more open and inclusive culture.

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