Rationale and development
The Bank of England (the Bank) has set out to deliver an integrated approach to health and wellbeing that focuses on the physical and mental health of its employees within an open and diverse culture. Delivering a programme to promote mental health in the workplace supports this wider aim and is aligned with the Bank's strategic plan (2014) of which one aspect is to be 'Diverse and Talented'. In 2013, the Bank of England signed up to the UK government’s Time to Change pledge with the aim of not only encouraging its staff to seek help without fear of stigma but also to increase awareness of mental health issues more generally.
The programme of activities and initiatives supporting mental health evolved over time. Important considerations in designing the programme are: what offers value for money and looking at best practice in other organisations.
- The Bank has implemented a holistic programme which is designed to support the three components of wellbeing: psychological, physical and social
- A range of services are provided including an in-house medical unit, Staff Counsellors, and a comprehensive Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). The Bank has also recently commenced training for line managers in partnership with UK charities Bank Workers Charity and Mind. A call for expressions of interest from staff in becoming Wellbeing Champions has also been made
- Consultations with staff and managers guided the development of the programme, specifically helping to identify which services or tools are most beneficial. The Bank’s wellbeing strategy was agreed at executive level
- Mental health initiatives integrated within a broad range of wellbeing activities are led by Human Resources (HR) and supported by senior managers and the Bank's Mental Health Network
- The Mental Health Network is one of the Bank's employee diversity and inclusion networks and closely works with the in-house Staff Counsellors and HR team to improve services offered within the organisation. This includes raising awareness and improving understanding around mental health conditions and highlighting the support available to staff
- Externally, the Bank has focused on developing relationships with leaders in the mental health field to stay at the forefront of developments in practice and research. Leaders from other spheres, external to the Bank, have also helped to raise awareness and help change the conversation around mental health in the workplace through delivery of talks and seminars to Bank employees. These activities were arranged by the Bank and its employee-led 'Mental Health Network'
Monitoring and effectiveness
- The Bank monitors usage of the various elements of the programme. For example, at an organisational level, the Bank’s staff survey includes a number of wellbeing questions. The results of this are a useful diagnostic and measure of wellbeing in the workplace
Key takeaways, lessons learnt and points of interest
- 'Value for money' and best practice in other organisations guided the development of the Bank's programme. Benchmarking the Bank’s activities against best practice has enabled the Bank to have a clear wellbeing strategy
- Signing the Time to Change pledge signified an important step for the Bank – a public commitment to indicate its support of mental health issues
- Senior management buy-in, engagement across the organisation, direct support from HR, and creating a joined-up offer all contribute to successful programme delivery
- A key challenge has been to ensure awareness of the wellbeing programme across the Bank. This is being achieved by using a range of communication channels e.g. external speakers, seminars, creating a single ‘intranet hub’ for wellbeing information, and running events such as Wellbeing Week. A new visual identity has been developed to signal to staff the reach of the Bank’s Wellbeing programme ‘think well, live well, be well’
- To support the Bank's approach to flexible working, a cross-network panel event was organised to highlight case-studies and encourage line managers to have conversations about flexible working