Charlton Morris uses employee surveys to tailor mental health workshops

Executive search firm Charlton Morris ensures that its mental health workshops are tailored to its millennial workforce by conducting staff surveys using its internal communications platform.

The organisation, which has 63 employees all under the age of 35 across Denmark, the UK and the US, launched the workshops in April 2019 as part of a new mental health support package, delivered in partnership with qualified mental health practitioner Jaimie Shires. The half-day workshops are held quarterly, but it is Charlton Morris’ employees who are setting the agenda for what topics they would like to learn about.

Andy Shatwell, managing director at Charlton Morris, explains: “What we wanted to do was ask employees what they felt they were lacking in terms of knowledge around mental health, rather than it being me or a colleague deciding what’s the most important thing to learn.”

Charlton Morris worked with Shires to create an extensive list of workshop titles, which were then sent to employees via internal communications platform Slack. This has a survey function, which the organisation used to enable staff to vote for which workshop topic they most wanted to learn about.

The initial employee survey was sent out in April 2019, ahead of the proposed date for the first workshop, which was held during Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2019. This survey also asked staff about their current levels of awareness around mental health, how comfortable they are talking about it, and what coping mechanisms they employ when feeling stressed or anxious.

“It was sent round prior to the kick off, just so we ultimately knew where the base level is and what we’re working with,” Shatwell notes.

The anonymous survey, which received an 100% response rate, also included a comments section for employees to add more detailed feedback; this will be used moving forward as a further springboard for workshop topic ideas.

Employees voted that the first workshop would be on managing mental health, prevention, identification and interventions. Other workshop topics featured in the list include managing stress and anxiety, improving self-confidence and self-worth, understanding relationship dynamics and overcoming self-defeating habits.

“Around 90% of [the] team are in [a] sales function, so we know our demographic and we, hopefully, know what support they need,” Shatwell continues. “What we wanted was to do a full, rounded package [and] not leave any stone unturned. We’ve gone from awareness and education all the way through to making an impact on someone through counselling. We feel that fits very well with our demographic.”

The mental health support package also includes on-site drop-in sessions and needs assessments with Shires, delivered Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 6.00pm. On Shires’ recommendation, Charlton Morris will also pay for up to 12 individual counselling sessions for staff, if required, and the organisation plans to train all managers in mental health first aid by the end of 2019.