People first approach to mental health
‘People are the heart of our business’ has always been the cornerstone of the Portico ethos, and this Mental Health Awareness Week shines a spotlight on the continuing importance of placing employee wellbeing and mental health at the centre of everything that Portico does.
Mental Health Awareness Week, from 15-21 May, is an ideal time for us all to think about mental health, challenge mental health-related stigma, explore how we can create a society that prevents mental health issues from developing and protect our mental wellbeing.
With over 1,000 team members across the UK, people are our greatest asset and integral to our success. Portico’s introduction of Mental Health First Aiders in 2022 was a game changer in terms of the way employee wellbeing assistance was provided. The free, confidential service matches trained members of the business with colleagues going through challenging times.
Hanna Barrett, Director of Operations at Portico said: “When asking somebody to deliver the very best service, ultimately, we have to help that person to look after themself first. Our people are our best asset, and we are incredibly proud of the work they do and our aim with our Mental Health First Aiders programme is to support them to help them feel their best.”
Mental Health First Aiders are all level three qualified in mental health, including our Head of Learning and Development, Victoria Craig. Each Mental Health First Aider receives their own help and support throughout the process. Sessions can take place on a video call (with or without a camera) or in a coffee shop. It’s up to the individual to decide what’s best for them.
Hanna continues: “It’s all about bringing mental health awareness into the workplace in a caring and thoughtful way. So rather than just a list of therapists, we marry someone up with a first aider who is most appropriate for their particular challenge, whether that’s bereavement, managing pressure, personal issues or financial help and advice.”
At Portico, supporting employee wellbeing involves a whole range of important measures, from making time for social activities, to encouraging work life balance and having honest conversations with clients about the fact that people are Portico’s priority. At our annual Portico conference, coming up next month, we will launch our new Wellbeing Hub. This will include a whole range of health and wellbeing support services available to all our employees such as health checks, access to a digital GP, nutritional consultations, mental health consultations and second medical opinions.
The conference also has wellbeing woven throughout the day, with TED Talk style sessions around wellbeing (for example sleep and diet), massages, and the executive chef from our sister company BaxterStorey on hand to share recipes and nutrition information to support wellness.
Bringing teams together has never been more important than in this new era of flexible working. Last year, Portico introduced a team engagement app, Heartbeat, which currently has over 600 users and is a platform for fun and energetic content which aims to unite team members across Portico’s 200 sites across the country.
There are several other initiatives in the pipeline which will reinforce our continuing commitment to wellbeing, including training and support around neurodiversity in the workplace to help adapt to different employee needs. These will be rolled out later in the year.
On Mental Health Awareness Week and year-round, our team members will be supporting each other to feel their best and deliver memorable guest experiences.