Employer Blog: Kirk Newsholme

There is a real focus on Mental Health in the workplace currently and rightly so – it’s evident to see from the stats, especially within the professional services sector, the number of people affected by mental health related illnesses – something we, as many other employers, have witnessed first-hand. As a consequence we understand our duty and feel passionate about helping keep our staff mentally well.

For a long time at Kirk Newsholme, we’ve had a focus on our ‘values in action’ and really put an emphasis on how we support each other in the work place. It goes without saying that if you feel supported and recognised for the good you do, the more positive your work ethic. Following some leadership training we introduced a nominations process to give recognition for our ‘INSPIRE’ values.  This has had a really positive affect amongst staff and gives everyone the chance to receive recognition for going above and beyond their call of duty. 

We wanted to further cement our commitment in this area so got in touch with Martha about becoming a Mindful Employer and what else we could do to support our staff. On her recommendation we took out some training with Mind for our managers which was tailored towards helping them spot the signs if someone is struggling with their mental health and how to approach the situation.

The feedback from our training was hugely positive – we had a great presenter who helped us realise the ‘normalities’ of mental health but at what point and why they might become a problem.

We’re also provided with resources and signposting for support networks through Mindful Employer to keep our staff well informed of what’s available in our area.

In January we gave all our staff the opportunity to get involved in our annual charity event this summer – Tough Mudder. For some, this has really helped them have a focus throughout the year outside of work and given them a personal goal to work towards. When the weather is good, staff get together to train outdoors and it’s created a real team spirit around the office. Holding some sort of team event or get together can really help raise morale.

We also have dedicated team nights out, flexible working hours and encourage open communication between staff so that they know they can discuss sensitive issues if they want to. Having a safe environment at work and knowing you can discuss how you’re feeling with your team manager takes the pressure off having to pretend it’s all ok if it’s not.

Our younger members play a really important part of the team here too. We run an apprenticeship scheme for school leavers and ensure they have a solid support network when they join the firm. Coming into the workplace from a school environment and taking on professional studies can be a daunting and stressful time of life for some – it’s really important that they feel part of the team from day one and know they have the support of a dedicated team surrounding them.  

There are still ideas we want to roll out as we go along, but the whole process of signing the charter has helped to reaffirm the importance of keeping our staff mentally well which in turn, creates a happy team.