The company’s director of DEI, mental health and well-being discusses building a psychologically safe and inclusive workplace and keeping up with her toddler.
Q: What top challenges do you face in your role?
A: Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we understood and saw our employees were more aware and willing to access support services, which was excellent . . . and ensured we were able to support them. However, this also challenged us to consider what more we could do to support them and their well-being through these tumultuous times. As a company, we want to ensure we’re meeting the unique needs of our employees [and] taking into account each employee’s individual circumstances.
Q: What new programs or initiatives are you looking to implement?
A: While we’re very proud of our current programs, we want to continue evolving our overall mental-health program, including our focus on prevention and proactive psychological health in the workplace.
We also want to equip leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to act as coaches to their teams when it comes to psychological health, focus on reinforcing recognition, gratitude and appreciation and encourage hybrid and fluid work models to better integrate work and personal life priorities. These elements will truly help the organization create a more resilient workforce and ensure employees are supported at an individual level.
Q: How do you judge the success of a program or initiative?
A: Employee participation is a big factor, as is the feedback loop. . . . Does this [program] resonate in the workplace? Are people attending these programs and providing feedback? Have we listened and acted on what our employees have told us about our working environment, our workplace and what they’d like to know about [diversity, equity and inclusion]? And have we given them the space, tools and bandwidth to be able to have meaningful conversations? It isn’t just about the number of attendees at an event or initiative, it’s whether the conversation continues.
Q: What key human resources issues do you expect in the coming year?
A: As technology continues to advance, HR professionals will have new opportunities to focus on more strategic, high-level tasks, such as employee engagement and retention. As well, with greater
use of technology, the nature of the work itself will change . . . so HR will need to be able to support that in the near future.
Bell will also continue to focus on DEI . . . and strive to build a workplace that addresses systemic racism and promotes workplace inclusion. Another area we’ll focus on is adapting to unique employee needs across generations, including concerns around environment and sustainability, which are issues we’ll need to be more cognizant of within the workplace to ensure our workforce is supported.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
A: I have a toddler, so my hobbies consist of being active — or just keeping up — with him, whether it’s swimming, playing soccer, etc. Outside of that, I’m a very big reader and I’ve been absorbed in a Brené Brown book titled Atlas of the Heart. It focuses on a deeper understanding of emotions and feelings, what defines us as humans and how we can connect better with each other.
Q: What’s your favourite employee benefit and why?
A: I’m extremely proud of our unlimited psychological care benefits. Everyone had a difficult last couple of years. We wanted to ensure we were able to support our employees’ mental health and well-being as we move forward together and remove barriers to access.
Providing unlimited psychological support to employees and their family members has made a huge impact on our [employees] who’ve leveraged these support tools for their mental health and well-being.
Lauren Bailey is an associate editor at Benefits Canada.