Laura Jackson: How can employers identify the best stress support for their workforce?

Stress is an individualised experience. What one person identifies as a stressor will differ to the next person, and those experiencing the same stressor will have a different response to it. As an employer, it can often be challenging to support stress at an individual level. Therefore, a way of approaching this is by creating a people-first workplace culture which encourages open communication, the development of overarching skills such as resilience, and provides psychological safety.

At Adobe, we strive to create a workplace where everyone feels a sense of belonging, which includes having transparent conversations and means no topic is off the table. We have done this by speaking about mental health at company meetings and offering a portfolio of mental health resources across many mediums and channels.  All of our employees receive complementary access to meditation apps such as Headspace, behavioural change health coaching and counselling sessions. Our healthcare strategy also supports employees stress through our healthcare pathways which offers menopause, fertility, women’s, and men’s health support. All of these benefits are open to our employees’ partners or household dependants due to the impact personal challenges has on individuals.

To support a psychological safe culture, manager training is crucial so they can have empathy and confidence to encourage open conversations. To bring this to life, we’ve introduced mental health skills training for managers in our UK team in partnership with Mental Health First Aid England. In addition, specialist manager training is provided via our talent development team, and Thrive Global also offers training through a broader wellbeing lens. Our flagship leadership and manager training programmes also support the message of emotional intelligence as a fundamental skill to successfully lead people.

We try to take a holistic approach to our wellbeing strategy, and this is reflected in the strong partnerships between our diversity and inclusion (D&I), corporate and social responsibility (CSR), training and development, workplace experience and safety and security teams which fosters a culture where wellbeing is a mindset and one in which we all have a role to play.  For us, this helps create a sense of community and human connections that support stress management in a non-direct way.

It is important to note that employers have a duty of care to support employees’ safety and wellbeing, however, programmes that encourage resilience allows us to promote the message that employees also have a large role to play in their own wellbeing and, in particular, self-management of stress.

Laura Jackson is EMEA health and wellbeing programme manager at Adobe