The Wellbeing Ambassador Program is part of an organization’s strategic direction to create a safe and psychologically healthy workplace. The program is a multi-pronged approach that includes three elements: wellbeing assessment, training of Managers, and training and support of Ambassadors.
Workplace Options’ Wellbeing Ambassador Program was the first of its kind deployed by a wellbeing solutions provider to establish individuals who are part of an organization’s workforce as mental health Ambassadors. The program is built on a foundation that offers continuous support to Ambassadors so that they are comfortable in their role and can sustain their work over a long period of time.
One of our clients has been making many investments in building a psychologically healthy workplace that demonstrates a culture of care. There was intensive training underway for all Managers within the organization to promote healthy work environments and contribute to an overall positive, psychologically healthy corporate work culture. Toward that end, Workplace Options was called in to establish the Wellbeing Ambassador Program within the organization and train Wellbeing Ambassadors across the globe to promote and support the wellbeing of individuals in all the clients’ locations.
Through the Wellbeing Ambassador Program, the client was looking at bringing all the pieces together to create a culture where people can be their best and reach their potential, in addition to creating a thriving working culture within the organization.
The goal of the Wellbeing Ambassador Program for the client was established to train individuals who:
• Want to promote good mental health in the workplace.
• Break down the stigma around mental health and ensure individuals have easy access to mental health support.
• Are willing to be there when someone needs to talk. Specific requirements needed to be met to ensure the success of the Wellbeing Ambassadors:
• Wellbeing Ambassadors were selected based on criteria as set out by the client in order to meet the needs of the organization.
• Ambassadors had sufficient capacity to carry out their roles.
• Ambassadors felt comfortable and confident in their roles so they can carry out their duties as champions of mental health in the workplace.
During the planning process, Workplace Options met with key stakeholders of the organization to ensure their involvement throughout the development of the program. There was an executive-level committee that oversaw the strategic initiatives of the organization, and the Wellbeing Ambassador Program was a solution to their strategic initiatives by ensuring the client provided mental health support in order to create a psychologically healthy workplace. The Wellbeing Ambassador Program offered the client the capacity to implement Wellbeing Ambassadors across the global organization. Workplace Options designed and customized the Manager and Ambassador trainings to make them unique for the client, in addition to designing and implementing all the support components in relation to the Ambassador training.
PHASE 1: Planning
The overall training of the program was delivered over two consecutive days. Workplace Options conducted an initial consultation with the client to understand the needs of their workforce and the organization. The consultation included an assessment of needs as identified by the Health, Safety, Security and Environment team, surveys, interviews, and focus groups to customize the scope of the program for the clients’ needs.
PHASE 2: Training Managers and Wellbeing Ambassadors
The client wanted its leaders to be mentally fit and contribute toward proactively creating a workplace that is positive and psychologically safe. With that goal, Workplace Options created the Zero Harm Management initiative to provide Managers at the organization with awareness of the emotional and psychological factors that impact individuals’ wellbeing and how to promote their own wellbeing and that of their teams. The Zero Harm Management training made Managers aware of how to use Wellbeing Ambassadors in the workplace to support the emotional wellbeing of employees.
Workplace Options organized and provided the training for Wellbeing Ambassadors across multiple locations. The trainings were completed virtually and had a highly interactive format. Different case studies were used in the training that were based on situations relevant to the organization. Ambassadors received training on their role of wellbeing champions in addition to five key principles to ensure their success in the program:
1. Process and protocols
2. Inclusivity and Equality
3. Continuous Education
4. Support and Collaboration
5. Communication and Inspiration
Workplace Options developed a custom Wellbeing Ambassador Guide to summarize the training for the Ambassadors, and upon the conclusion of the training, all participants received the handbook. The trainings served to assist Managers and Ambassadors in coming together and creating a working culture where individuals feel comfortable to speak up and speak out against the stigma of mental health in the workplace.
PHASE 3: Deployment
Each location where an Ambassador was trained had a Program Coordinator who had also completed the training. The Coordinator acts as the primary contact for the Ambassadors following deployment in their respective location. Employees are made aware of who their Ambassadors are so that they can approach them when a need arises.
Ambassadors met with their Coordinator once a quarter and met with other Ambassadors on a monthly basis to share learnings and discuss their experience as Wellbeing Ambassadors. During the monthly sessions, discussions are brought forward, and discussion topics come from the group based on their experience in carrying out their role. The Clinical Facilitator of the monthly sessions planned short programs to talk around special topics so that the Ambassadors gain confidence and understanding of mental health issues that occur in the workplace.
Mental health and wellbeing have become important topics of discussion, and with the help of the Wellbeing Ambassador Program, the client has ensured that all individuals within the organization have access to mental health support and resources. Workplace Options trained Ambassadors across the globe, which greatly benefitted the client, as they have employees deployed in high-risk locations around the world. Drawing on their training, Ambassadors were able to provide meaningful support.
As a result of the Wellbeing Ambassador Program, participants were able to:
• Understand the importance of mental health first aid and the role of an Ambassador.
• Explore stigmas and discrimination that prevent individuals from accessing mental health care.
• Learn how to proactively start a conversation with an employee in need.
• Understand professional boundaries and the zone of helpfulness.
• Respond to an emergency in line with protocol.
• Understand the employee supports available and various access points to reach help.
• Establish the importance of energy management.
To date, Workplace Options has trained more than 400 Wellbeing Ambassadors globally for one of our biggest global client. Overall, Workplace Options has trained more than 1,300 Ambassadors as part of the Wellbeing Ambassador Training.
This case story is based on a real-life situation, but some details have been modified to maintain confidentiality.