The mind matters
December 22, 2020
At Accenture, we strive to put our people first in all we do. That is why when it comes to mental health, we want to make sure our people receive the utmost care and support. “It comes down to feeling safe while working, the most basic of human needs,” said Grace Yip, Head of Human Resources, Southeast Asia.
While COVID-19 has ramped up the need for companies to focus on employees’ mental wellbeing; even before the pandemic, it has always been a priority for Accenture to elevate the importance of mental wellbeing amongst staff. In 2018, we created the Southeast Asia Mental Wellness network to provide awareness, education and support for mental wellness at the workplace – specifically around creating a culture where people are encouraged to talk about mental health.
To provide the impetus for our people to open up about mental health, we have established several open and authentic communications initiatives. These initiatives ensure that people feel secure talking about mental health without fear of reprisal – be it lost opportunities or judgement. The goal is to create a truly safe space.
With the Employee Assistance Programme, employees can expect a completely confidential and complimentary 24/7 service that provides professional support to help our employees and their families. If employees feel stressed at home or at work, they know that a professional is always within reach.
We also wanted to create a culture where everyone is inspired to care for each other. With the Mental Health Ally Programme, we have gracious colleagues who have volunteered themselves to be advocates who provide support or information on mental wellness to anyone who needs it. To date, we have 186 trained mental health allies across the region, including 159 in Singapore. While they are not professional counsellors or therapists, they can speak to employees in confidence, and point them towards professional help.
We have also incorporated mental health coverage into our employee health benefits in 2018, which allows for claims for treatments related to mental health to be made under its specialist outpatient insurance. While it was previously needed, employees now are no longer required to show GP referral letters to be reimbursed, thus making this endeavour more accessible to people.
In addition, we also have an abundance of mental health training programmes and resources developed for our people. One such example is Thriving Mind, a 90-minute web-based training programme, developed in partnership with Stanford Medicine and Thrive Global. It aims to help participants learn more about neuroscience-based techniques on how to recharge and relieve stress. Employees also have access to toolkits and resources, which offers tips for self-care and tools to engage with their teams and community.
Ingrained into our culture is also an understanding that our employees need time for their lives beyond the office. Ask Gigi Su, Client Account Leadership Senior Manager and mother of a 5-year-old, and she’ll be proud to tell you about the support she receives.
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“Accenture has a robust framework and culture that allows me to prioritise my personal needs and I appreciate that very much,” Gigi says. “After the birth of my child, I requested for extended maternity and a role change, both of which were promptly supported by my leaders. After my return to work post-maternity, my leaders and colleagues were consistently supportive of my needs as a new mother. That gave me the confidence to continue to pursue growth in my career whilst caring for my child.”
Our leaders in Accenture understand that employees need avenues to communicate their personal needs, and that a good balance between work and personal life are key to their mental welfare. “This is a time for leaders to show what responsible leadership is and gain the hearts, minds and engagement of their employees,” said Grace.
There is a clear segregation between work and personal life. “There is no expectation for anyone across levels to respond immediately or over weekends,” said Gigi. “I do not feel prohibited in having to seek personal time off or to decline meetings that do not align with my schedule. I work flexibly across the peaks and troughs of my work and more importantly, I always have colleagues and leaders that remind me, when and how to take a break!”
Mental wellness is and should be an important part of every working culture. We recognise that, and hold a firm belief that every member of the Accenture family should be cared for to the best of our ability.
When you’re part of the Accenture family, your mental wellbeing matters to us. Join the company that cares today.
Disclaimer: This document is intended for general informational purposes only and does not take into account the reader’s specific circumstances, and may not reflect the most current developments. Accenture disclaims, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, any and all liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information in this presentation and for any acts or omissions made based on such information. Accenture does not provide legal, regulatory, audit, or tax advice. Readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel or other licensed professionals.
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