Winner: Sodexo Counselling Service supports frontline wellbeing
Sponsored by: Thomson FM
Sodexo launched a face-to-face counselling service to protect teams delivering essential services to deal with the pressure caused by the pandemic, recognising that supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is vitally important, especially for those on the frontline.
Initially launched as a three-month trial, the service was extended until April 2021 so that more of Sodexo’s colleagues could engage with and benefit from the initiative.
Since the service’s launch: 420 individuals have attended one or more counselling sessions; more than 1,300 counselling sessions have been delivered; 1,010 “toolbox talks” with managers have been delivered; and 251 group counselling sessions have been held.
Employees have used the sessions to discuss issues across their work and personal lives, with some saying it had helped them take back control of their lives, to feel understood, to express their emotions and to enable them to remain at work and not resign.
Stuart Winters, Sodexo Healthcare UK & Ireland CEO, said: “Our team has consistently performed their jobs at the highest level. We recognise the importance of supporting our healthcare workforce and helping to alleviate some of the pressure of working through a global pandemic.”
Tracy Bullock, chief executive at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said: “What greater thing can we do for the wellbeing of staff? I am wholly supportive of the service. For staff on the frontline to be able to speak to someone who is trained who can listen to them and support them is a phenomenal success.”
Best practice learning point
Sodexo Healthcare’s key learnings have been that even if colleagues can be hesitant about new services that support their mental health, it’s important to slowly build awareness and understanding of the benefits of any available services.
A variety of options and solutions helps to ensure a service works for different individuals and a wide range of situations. External and independent expertise is essential – the programme would not have succeeded if core members of the Sodexo team had delivered the service.
Clients value this investment because it’s the right thing to do. This initiative supports the company’s people and ensures it continues to be by the side of clients, day in day out, to support health and care outcomes.
The benefits of the service have been promoted and shared through a case study, press release and bylined articles, which have been shared by numerous publications. This demonstrates Sodexo is a value-based business, committed to delivering social impact, which also helps to raise the profile of FM as a sector that cares for and invests in its people.
Security Officer Craig Evans said: “It wasn’t the first week, the second week maybe or the fourth week I realised it had started helping me without me noticing. I mean my daily routines and everything I was being advised to do [was helping].”