Turning the pandemic’s challenges into a mental health opportunity

Turning the pandemic’s challenges into a mental health opportunity | Insurance Business Canada

Turning the pandemic’s challenges into a mental health opportunity

Coping with the stress caused by the pandemic has not been easy, but the last year has seen the insurance industry embrace employee wellness and engagement. Employers have become more in tune with the need to support employees balancing work and home life as many have been thrust into a remote work environment for the first time.

One such example is Crawford & Company, with chief client officer Greg Smith telling Insurance Business “we’ve spent a lot more time this year making sure we’re connecting with our employees as best as we can on non-business-related matters.”

From scheduling virtual social times, to being more prescriptive with recognition and mental health strategies, Crawford has taken purposeful initiatives for the well being of its employees.

Crawford’s HR team organized events during mental health awareness week, taking an approach that combined both education and entertainment.

“We had events with speakers from inside the organization. Some of our employees courageously shared their own experiences with mental health challenges, which was an incredibly powerful exercise,” said Smith.

The company hosted chats with outside experts on how to support colleagues and organized a virtual nationwide concert spotlighting in-house talent. The week of events allowed Crawford employees from across Canada to connect in a way that would have never been possible before the pandemic.

“We’ve also launched a formal mental health training program for our leadership team through a group called StigmaZero,” said Smith. “It’s an online training course and an extension of what we read about when it comes to mental health.”

Retaining and attracting talent is enhanced when employees feel like an asset to a company and are a part of a supportive workplace. Smith added that “it’s a competitive market for skilled labor but we want to make sure we’re putting forth the best work environment we can for the people that join us.”

“We still see lots of demand for highly skilled customer-focused people,” said Smith. “Talent is not easy to attract and retain in the industry, so our focus is to make sure we’re developing that talent as much as we can and retain the talent we already have.”