Paradigm for Parity Member Companies Prioritizing Mental Health
Paradigm for Parity is proud of the work all of our coalition companies do each and every day to prioritize mental health in and out of the workplace.
With May marking Mental Health Awareness Month, we heard from leaders at two member companies, Signet Jewelers and Edison International, about policies their companies have adopted to promote mental health and wellness, particularly for multicultural women, and how they care for their own mental health while leading others.
Over the past year, what are some policies Signet Jewelers has implemented prioritizing mental health and wellness?
There are two categories of new policies and programs implemented over the last year: A new LifeWorks Total Wellbeing Solution program with enhanced services for all full/part-time team members and their families in North America, and our organization’s broader commitments to mental health and wellness, including financial wellness (which our team members tell us is of equal importance), via procedure changes and enhancements.
In implementing LifeWorks as a benefit for all, we began offering: Five in-person/virtual mental health counseling per incident, per year at no cost; Free, unlimited 24/7 Telemedicine services; personalized and unlimited health and wellness coaching calls; improved online Wellbeing Assessment to include separate assessments for mental health, physical health, social and financial wellbeing; online, interactive self-help tracks including 18 modules to select from including anger management, depression, anxiety, stress, grief and more; and new toolkits that include articles, podcasts, videos and recommendations for books/apps on a variety of topics such as Coping with Worry and Fear About Violence, Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion, Change and Resilience, Debt Consolidation, Budgeting, Retirement, and more.
Notably, Signet has also made significant strides procedurally to encourage team members to prioritize their overall health, including: Implementing permanent flexible work schedules; enhancing quarterly Check-Ins; launching and growing our Business Resource Groups; piloting flexible paid time off; hosting a monthly Coffee & Conversations series where team members are invited to learn about a topic, usually geared toward wellness and education, with a subject matter expert; and providing a three-part series called a Stronger U to provide tools to help team members realize their potential, uncover their purpose and take simple steps to strengthen their mind, body, and spirit.
What are some practices you use personally to prioritize your mental health?
I strive to find a balance of exercise, eating healthy, and managing work stress to best keep my mental health in check. Personally, I walk three miles every morning before I start my workday and as soon as my workday is over, I walk another two miles around my neighborhood. My husband walks with me and this gives us the opportunity to discuss our plans for the day, and at the end of the day talk about successes and challenges — without the interruption/distraction of mobile devices. I also strive to eat a healthy breakfast, a fresh salad for lunch every day, and home cooking for dinner. Cooking is also very relaxing and therapeutic in its own way for me.
And, of course, we all have work stress or moments of high anxiety in general. If I feel stress sneaking up on me, I will take a five-to-ten minute break outside to clear my head, and I also block the last hour of my workday to avoid end-of-the-day meetings which can lead to stress carrying into my personal life.
What steps has Signet taken specifically to lift multicultural women and address the mental health of multicultural employees?
Because Signet is an organization where 48% of our team members have self-declared as Black, Indigenous or as a Person of Color, and 75% as female, it’s of particular importance to focus on these majority groups within Signet.
As it relates to mental health, in addition to the robust, year-round support provided through benefits identified above, Signet’s Business Resource Group (BRG) program has seen significant involvement in recent years. BEN, the Black Employee Network, and TIDE, Transforming.Inclusivity.Diversity.Equality. group, are active and thriving. TIDE is a collaborative network that engages all team members by celebrating both differences and similarities and building equitable partnerships. The group proactively includes neurodivergent team members, parents, and caregivers.
TIDE just hosted a Mental Health Marathon this month on Wednesday, May 11, in partnership with wellness. The mental health experts available all day (to best serve our various team members’ schedules) include POC clinical psychologists and the BRG participants are encouraged to bring forth their mental health questions from their lens. These are anonymous questions answered in real time.
In the last year other BRGs have hosted: #Iamremarkable Trainings; WBRG She Speaks Series: End Violence Against Women; WBRG/PRIDE Bullying Awareness/Prevention; WBRG/PRIDE Parental Support + Awareness of Bullying for School Age Children; WBRG Working Mom Panel; WBRG She Speaks Series: 50 Ways to Fight Bias, Working Mom’s Edition; WBRG She Speaks Series: Coping with Grief and Loss; and Veteran’s BRG on Post Trauma Stress Disorder.
Over the past year, what are some policies Edison has implemented prioritizing mental health and wellness?
Edison does not have any official company policies prioritizing mental health and wellness; however, we do have an abundance of mental wellness programs available for employees. We recently launched and communicated a Shine a Light Initiative to all employees which encompass two dedicated intranet portal pages on mental wellness and substance use resources, and an inclusive Shine a Light Yammer community. As part of this initiative, the Benefits and Wellness team launched quarterly Mental Health Training to help employees learn how to notice, engage, and support a loved one, friend, or coworker that may be struggling with a mental health condition. Edison also offers a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which includes mental health counseling benefits and WorkLife Services. In addition, our Wellness team offers mental health and wellness resources such as our Stress Management Toolkit, weekly guided meditations, daily virtual yoga and group exercise classes, wellness challenges, a robust Wellness Ambassador Program, wellness presentations and much more.
What are some practices you use personally to prioritize your mental health?
I practice meditation and I like to go out for walks. I also have my furry friends to help. When possible, I participate in charity events. Doing different activities helps in achieving balance and having a fresh mind for my workday.
What steps is your company taking specifically to lift multicultural women and address the mental health of multicultural employees?
On Edison’s Shine a Light on Mental Wellness portal page, there is a dedicated section named “Identity and Cultural Dimensions.” In this section, we provide mental health resources for the following groups: Asian American Pacific Islander, Black and African American, Indigenous People, Latinx, LGBTQI+, and People with Disabilities. In partnership with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and our Business Resource Groups, we continue to promote mental health and wellness resources for various cultural groups through different avenues of communication.
We encourage all of our members to explore the mental health resources offered by their companies, and we applaud the steps organizations like Signet and Edison have taken to commit to the well-being of their employees.