Interview with Charlene Jackson from GoHenry

Challenge

“Support our employees to feel their best while overcoming the pressures and long waiting times to talk to a professional.”

Solution

“Create a synergy between Mental Health First Aiders and OpenUp to meet our business needs by offering professional support six days a week to both staff and managers.”

At OpenUp, we strongly believe that a key component in the workplace is to create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. We are proud to say that we are not the only ones working based on this philosophy. 

 

Companies such as GoHenry, are on the same mission: to make mental health accessible for all their employees. Charlene Jackson, VP of People at GoHenry, shared with us her experience with OpenUp and the outcomes of of our partnership together.

When was the first time you thought about providing our service to your employees?

 

We have always provided support to our GoHenry employees and their families. We have worked with different mental health platforms in the past, but the provider at the time we switched to OpenUp was not meeting our needs. The main issue was the one-week waiting time to talk to a professional and then 80% of the initial calls were just fact-finding and had to be referred to someone else, creating a further delay.

 

 

What were the challenges you were trying to solve when you chose to partner with OpenUp?

 

Our employees are so important to us, GoHenry wouldn’t exist without them. We want our staff to feel their best because it means they are happier at work and do their job to the best of their ability. If someone is unable to feel their best, GoHenry will do what it can to support and change this.

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“In case someone needs to be referred elsewhere, OpenUp can do this too. Overall, it offers quicker, more efficient services to enable our people to be able to be their best sooner.”

When did the partnership start and what made you choose OpenUp over the other options?

 

We started talking to OpenUp in February 2022 because we needed to partner with a company that cares as much for our people as we do. It was vital for us that the company operates in other countries and offers many languages – as GoHenry is global and multilingual.

 

How many countries and how many employees are you offering our service to?

 

We operate in the UK, Europe and USA. We offer OpenUp to all our UK and USA-based employees with plans to roll out globally in 2023. 

 

In general, how does your company work towards ensuring the well-being of its employees?

 

For us, OpenUp was a perfect fit because it met the needs of our staff but also had the added benefit of offering support and coaching to our managers and leaders. We already have over 10 qualified Mental Health First Aiders who promote self-help and support. Now, with the additional support of OpenUp, we can signpost and offer far more, such as access to a psychologist and a mindfulness coach. In case someone needs to be referred elsewhere, OpenUp can do this too. Overall, it offers quicker, more efficient services to enable our people to be able to be their best sooner.

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“Managers value it as well as they feel they have the support to be better managers for their teams. They feel better equipped to deal with challenging situations.”

How did you launch OpenUp to your employees?

 

We announced it via email to the entire business.

 

 

Have you received any feedback from your employees since you begun offering OpenUp’s services?

 

Yes, and it’s all been positive. When people are in crisis, having the choice to reach out to someone at OpenUp takes away the pressures and the waiting time that they may be experiencing elsewhere. Managers value it as well as they feel they have the support to be better managers for their teams. They feel better equipped to deal with challenging situations.

 

 

How do you create synergies between mental health first aiders in your company and OpenUp?

 

All of GoHenry’s Mental Health First Aiders have tried OpenUp to experience first-hand how simple and easy the process is. We view OpenUp as yet another tool in our kit to offer people the support they need. We make sure the communications from Open Up always come through a Mental Health First Aider so that the correct information is conveyed and everyone else in the business knows it is coming from a trusted source.

“To date, OpenUp’s service has never let us down and I do believe it was one of the reasons contributing to GoHenry securing 14th place in Newsweek’s 2022 Most Loved Workplaces® list.”

What do you think makes the partnership between GoHenry and OpenUp successful?

 

OpenUp has met our business needs by offering professional support six days a week. To date, OpenUp’s service has never let us down and I do believe it was one of the reasons contributing to GoHenry securing 14th place in Newsweek’s 2022 Most Loved Workplaces® list.

 

 

Which tools do you use to increase employees’ awareness and engagement in mental health?

 

We have a well-being calendar which we draft up a year beforehand that has lots of subjects such as mental health, DE&I, mind & body, healthy relationships, self knowledge, etc. From there, we then build out content and how best to deliver and encourage participation. We also send out communications once a month via HiBob – our HR portal, Slack and our Monthly Town Halls.

 

 

What does mental health personally mean to you?

 

It drives how I think, feel and act.

 

 

How do you personally practice what you preach about mental health?

 

I’m kind to myself but also push my mind out of its comfort zone to train it and keep it active. I stay active with my personal trainer twice a week, I run and I also practice yoga. It’s my time to be kind to myself, show my body the respect it deserves and challenge myself whilst unplugging my brain and silencing the voices in my head that are reminding me of the world around me and the tasks I haven’t done.

 

 

How do you deal with challenging situations in your life?

 

I believe things are sent to try us and how you handle them and allow them to impact you is far more important than the actual situation. I also remind myself that things could be worse and embrace the challenge, but I am not afraid to ask for support.

 

 

What advice would you give those reading this conversation? Is there something you want to share with your team and employees?

 

We are in a world where looking after our physical health is something we proudly show off to the world – with a sweaty gym selfie or going for a jog and sharing the auto-tweeted map afterwards. But all too often we forget about looking after our brains and ensuring we keep our minds fit. We owe it to ourselves, our friends and our family to be the best we can be and to do that we need to invest in our well-being on a regular basis.

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