The Lendlease Europe success story
Laying the foundations for better mental health
“Benefex are always willing to provide solutions to any issue that we have. They are very supportive of any ideas we bring to the table and are a team that you can talk to and problem-solve with.”
Mark Greenwald, Benefits and Wellbeing Advisor, Lendlease
With headquarters in Australia and operating regions in Australia, Europe, the Americas and Asia, Lendlease is a globally integrated real estate and investment group with core expertise in shaping cities and creating strong and connected communities. It creates award-winning urban precincts, new communities, retail precincts, workplaces, and civic and social infrastructure including hospitals, universities and stadiums around the world.
It built the Sydney Opera House, created the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, and renovated London’s Tate Britain and National Theatre.
No. of employees
Commit to tackling the high rate of suicide within the UK construction industry
Create an innovative programme of initiatives, activities and events to support employees’ mental health
Enable employees to be open about their mental health
“When we found out that two construction workers take their own lives every day in the UK and Ireland, we felt that we had to act urgently to help both our own employees and people working in the wider construction industry to look after their mental health.
“So, in 2019, we started looking at supporting every aspect of wellbeing, with mental health at the centre of a programme of initiatives and events designed to raise awareness and give people as much support as possible around emotional, physical, social and financial wellbeing.
“We became the first construction company to sign the Time to Change pledge and regularly take part in Mind’s annual Workplace Wellbeing Index; in fact, the mental health charity has awarded us its gold standard for the last three years and made us its number one organisation in 2018.
“But we knew that changing the construction industry would take time, and that focusing on our own people’s mental health should be our priority. So we partnered with Benefex to create a wellbeing hub, and to communicate our message about the importance of talking about mental health so that people knew that help was available and where to go to find it.”
Focus on wellbeing
“So that we could truly support our employees and their peers, we joined forces with Benefex to completely overhaul our mental health offering and really push the message that it’s okay to talk about your mental health – don’t struggle on in silence.
“We run various initiatives, such as events for Mental Health Day and World Mental Health Day, and we invite colleagues to join global calls where we share employees’ experiences of mental health. Most recently, we shared a message around near misses on our construction sites and focused on the mental health impact as well as the physical impact. We’ve expanded the basic mental health awareness training that everyone gets when they join Lendlease to include line managers and Mental Health First Aiders. We’ve given all employees access to wellbeing tools including Yulife, Headspace, Health Assured, BUPA (MH access without a GP referral), Silvercloud online CBT and Sleepfit. Everyone is entitled to uncapped wellbeing leave (a guide of one day per quarter) and performance conversations focus on mental health and wellbeing. We have more than 175 active Mental Health First Aiders supporting our workforce and 50 wellbeing and inclusion champions promoting and advocating our mental health initiatives and communications.
“And we keep mental health at the forefront of everyone’s mind by running regular campaigns and awareness events, including holding monthly ‘Conversations about...’ calls in which we tackle taboo subjects ranging from losing a baby and coming out as transgender at work to women’s health and being an introvert at work – we hope that employees will realise that these are real topics and real concerns for people and that they feel empowered to talk about them freely if they’re affected by them.
“Because our employees are mainly out on site rather than based in an office, we had to be strategic about how we communicated with them about these initiatives. With the help of Benefex’s Communications Manager tool, we created a mix of approaches including posters, videos, intranet posts, emails and peer-to-peer communication, to make sure that we reached as wide an audience as possible.”
“There has been a fantastically positive response to this initiative from our employees – our key message that it’s good to talk, and that talking can be the first step towards getting the right help, and it really seems to be getting through. Between May and October 2021, the number of colleagues reporting feeling comfortable talking to their line managers about their wellbeing, able to manage work-related stress, feeling that they work in an accepting environment, and having a line manager who talks to them about their background and experiences increased by between 4% and 6%.
“Our work has been around raising awareness of mental health and encouraging people to speak out. So we’re thrilled to see an increase in the number of people calling our Employee Assistance Programme provider to talk about mental health, as it shows that the message is getting across.
“In a recent workshop, 55% of employees said they would speak to someone in the workplace about their mental health, compared to 43% outside of it. This shows that we’re creating a safe place for employees to speak up.
“And we’ve seen an increase in absence relating to mental health, which is positive as it shows that employees are becoming more confident about disclosing their poor mental health to us. But the number of days of absence has fallen from 28 to 15; this shows that our mental health initiatives are helping.
“Working with Benefex on this has been great. They’re always willing to provide solutions to any issues we’ve got – they’re happy to have those discussions.”
Increase in engagement
Of Lendlease employees said that they feel comfortable talking to their manager about their wellbeing
Active Mental Health First Aiders supporting Lendlease employees and supply chain
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