Back in early 2020, at the start of the pandemic, I remember talking with a number of fellow HR leaders about the possible mental health impacts and considerations for employers in supporting positive mental health through the pandemic and beyond. Eerily, one predicted that the fear, financial stress and isolation would lead to increased incidences of poor mental health. It's no wonder that wellbeing in the workplace is at the top of any HR agenda in 2022.

According to the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, one in five Australians experience some form of mental health issue, every year.

Smiling people looking outside from the bus.
Smiling people looking outside from the bus.

Be Kind To Your Mind

Be Kind To Your Mind (BKTYM)  is a cohesive workplace health & wellness program that aims to support our people by covering the five key pillars of mental wellbeing; connect, rest, nourish, move and security. 

Over the last year, all our people have been given the opportunity to be involved in various activities that inspire them to care for themselves. All of the activities are voluntary, so our people can participate as much or as little as they like. The HR team is taking a lead and some of the activities have included a nutritious virtual cooking class, exercise activities such as the March Charge and STEPtember, and financial wellbeing seminars. 

While our BKTYM program is designed to help and proactively promote good mental health and wellbeing, we recognise that our people also need counselling support at times. We actively promote our EAP and encourage early access which we hope leads to better outcomes for our people.

Man and woman sitting at table having a chat, while woman working on a tablet.
Man and woman sitting at table having a chat, while woman working on a tablet.

Peer Support Network

In 2022 we sponsored the training and accreditation of 18 Randstad employees to become mental health first-aiders with the intention of forming a Peer Support Network. These individuals are a point of contact if any of our employees, or someone they are concerned about, are experiencing a mental health challenge or emotional distress. 

They are not therapists or psychiatrists; rather, they are trained to give initial support and connect our people to appropriate professional help. In addition, they play a role in championing positive mental health & wellbeing, educating our people and debunking myths about mental health.

We were so delighted to see that the RUOK Day theme for 2022 being ‘no qualifications needed’, further supporting the idea that anyone can ask the question and check in on the health & wellbeing of another person.

Man and woman talking and having a laugh while walking outside between office buildings.
Man and woman talking and having a laugh while walking outside between office buildings.

Measuring ‘Wellbeing’ in addition to ‘Engagement’

Like many organisations, we have a well-developed system for measuring employee engagement and collecting feedback. At Randstad, we take this a step further and specifically focus on the measurement of wellbeing. 

Through quarterly surveys and interactive two-way feedback mechanisms for managers and their team members, we are able to take targeted action for improving wellbeing. This also helps the HR team stay focused on the enterprise interventions that will have the most impact and allows us to tailor our approach. 

It's also a commercial imperative. In a talent scarce market, a focus on mental health, wellbeing and organisational support is a critical element of our Employee Value Proposition. The Randstad Employer Branding Report (REBR) 2022 revealed that employees are increasingly looking for employers who are willing to support them, the whole person, and not just the employee. 

There are many ways in which organisations can work to improve the mental health and resilience of their employees. We continue to learn more about this challenge, but it's one that continues to be a critical priority for our business and our clients' businesses.

R U OK? Day is certainly a great reminder for all business leaders, that everyone has what it takes to support family, friends and colleagues. You don’t need to be an expert to have an R U OK? conversation. While having the conversation with a staff or team member, a friend or family member might seem daunting, sometimes it can just be as simple as; 

  • Asking how they are
  • Listening to what they have today
  • Encourage them to take action
  • Checking in with them again

You can find out more at the R U OK? Day website by clicking here

If you've seen success with other initiatives in your workplace, I would love to hear about them too. 

If you’d like to find out more about our latest employer branding research, and how you can use these findings to improve your talent acquisition and retention efforts, request the research here.

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about the author

felicity empson

hr director

Felicity Empson is the HR Director of Randstad Australia.