How does ACCA support mental health in the workplace?
To mark World Mental Health Day, we spoke to ACCA to understand their mental health strategy and how it supports their overall wellness programme.
The global professional accountancy body, which supports over half a million members and students in nearly 100 offices and centres around the world, employs 900 people in the UK from offices in London and Glasgow.
In November 2017, ACCA launched Nudge as part of a wider focus on improving wellness within the workplace across the four pillars of mental, financial, physical and social wellbeing. One of their key motivations for providing online financial wellness support was that finances can be a taboo subject in the workplace which if not tackled, impacts upon financial and mental health.
Steven Doyle, Benefits Specialist at ACCA explained: “As an employer, we would not know if an employee was in financial distress unless they inform us of this. The first signs may be displayed by differences in their physical and mental health so to be able to offer financial wellbeing support will help us to alleviate wellbeing issues elsewhere.”
In 2018, ACCA wanted to further improve their support around mental health and embarked on a three-month insight programme. Having analysed data from their annual engagement survey, EAP usage, long-term absence cases and face-to-face focus groups, it became clear that the first key mental health objective was to create a better understanding amongst managers and their teams.
This has been achieved through bespoke training in partnership with Let’s Get Healthy for 140 of ACCA’s people managers. The “Better Me, Better Team, Better Us” training helps managers recognise the early signs of mental health issues and understand how to approach conversations with their team. It’s been accompanied by a pilot of resilience workshops in both London and Glasgow for wellbeing champions, giving them advice on the mental and physical steps that they can take to thrive in the workplace with a roll-out planned for the wider employee population.
Anne-Marie Russell, Wellbeing Consultant at ACCA comments: “We know that in the UK less than 25% of people managers have received any training in mental health, yet 60% of employees have experienced a mental health problem due to work or where work was a contributing factor.”
Anne-Marie continues: “Our people managers are at the heart of what we do at ACCA. The insight sessions and focus groups we ran have meant the training has been well received. We can already see the positive impacts of the training and over the next two years we hope to implement more wellness support and rolling it out across all of ACCA’s markets. I’m very excited about creating an integrated wellness strategy and what the future holds.”