Insurance organisation Admiral Group has adapted its mental health strategy to ensure its employees get the support they need during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
Rebecca Walters, health and wellbeing manager at Admiral Group, says: “As an organisation, we felt it important to adapt our mental health strategy because of Covid. We upped our support. We made sure our HR officers worked closely with their departments to make sure people we perceived to be vulnerable or unwell, or were shielding, were a key priority and they were called every day.”
Mental health support has always been a top priority at Admiral: it started its Ministry of Health strategy 10 years ago, of which mental health is a big part, but with the pandemic causing stress and anxiety for its employees, it felt the need to make changes to its strategy to reflect the uncertainty of the future.
“We had to be quite creative quite early on,” explains Walters. “We were asked to do a wellness Wednesday every week; a communication that staff could access via mobile, which included a local personal trainer workout video each week, and signposting support around mental health, making sure it was clear and accessible for staff.”
The in-house wellbeing coach who traditionally offers meditation and mindfulness session in the office, now runs virtual one-to-one sessions with employees who have been identified as vulnerable. She is also running virtual departmental team sessions to give additional support which has had a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of the organisation’s employees, says Walters. Admiral has also opened up its employee assistance programme (EAP) to include family members.
Although Admiral has not placed any staff on furlough or made any redundancies, the organisation was fully aware that its employees’ families may have been affected and how this can have a negative impact on mental health. By partnering with HSBC Bank, it has been able to offer virtual financial advice workshops for employees.
Walters is proud of how the Ministry of Health has grown and has evolved during the pandemic. “It’s directed by staff for staff,” she explains. “There is no hierarchy or structure, it’s not led by directors and we don’t take an approach that we need a representative from each department. I think it becomes a tick box exercise then. Champions are recruited for their passion and interest in wellbeing whether that’s physical, general or mental health.
“We have four quarterly promotions within the Ministry of Health calendar that we make sure are focused on mental health for everybody, not just for those that are in crisis and in need. It’s for all of us so we try and create a balance in our lives. That’s really important to us.”