At COMPASS Pathways, our vision is a world of mental wellbeing, and that starts with making sure that everyone who works here feels supported and able to access help. We talk to Anne Benedict, our Chief People Officer, about our approach to creating a workplace that reduces the stigma around mental health challenges and supports its employees in staying well, physically and mentally.
What is COMPASS doing to support its employees?
We’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into how we can best support our employees. Our CEO, George Goldsmith, recently signed The Global Business Collaboration for Better Workplace Mental Health Leadership Pledge, promising to raise awareness of mental health challenges and support everyone who works here. It’s something that’s really important to us. We want to act as a leader in this area for our organisation.
We’ve recently established a new wellbeing programme. It’s designed to be a comprehensive service that includes all aspects of wellbeing, from eating and sleeping well to improving relationships. Mental health is so connected with everything else that we wanted the wellbeing programme to be holistic.
Alongside the wellbeing programme, we have a fantastic internal wellbeing club. They’ve put a lot of great initiatives in place, including weekly yoga classes, access to a meditation app, a newsletter, group meditation sessions, and mental health first aid training.
At a company level, we encourage everyone to work sustainably and to look after themselves. We have a flexible “Ways of Working” policy that means that everyone can work in the way that suits their team best. This policy is accompanied by meeting-free hours and days, which we put in place to give people dedicated time to focus on their work. We encourage people to speak up if they feel their workload is impacting their wellbeing, and we recently had a COMPASS-wide “Sustainability break” – a week off at the beginning of September to give everyone the opportunity to relax and reset.
Tell us more about the wellbeing programme
The wellbeing programme includes a wellbeing concierge, our “resident wellbeing expert and Health Coach”, along with a global employee assistance programme.
Our wellbeing concierge connects with people on a one-on-one basis, and we encourage everyone to book in time to speak with her confidentially. She offers tailored coaching support and helps us to navigate the available resources.
That’s backed up by the best, world-class employee assistance programme, which offers proactive wellbeing resources, practical information, and up to 20 counselling sessions for everyone and their families at COMPASS. Support is available 24/7 through a range of channels – phone, email or online chat. It’s confidential, independent and impartial.
We’re planning to run this programme and to experiment with a range of ideas. We’ll gather feedback as we go, so that we can get a sense of what works best for people and make it even more helpful.
How do we develop a workplace culture that supports mental health?
Our mission is close to many of our hearts – we often say that ‘everyone has a story’ about how they’ve been personally impacted by mental health challenges. It’s through fighting stigma that people will feel able to open up about any difficulties they may be facing and seek support. We encourage people to talk openly and honestly about their mental health and wellbeing, and not to feel like they have to hide it or put on a brave face just because they’re at work. This starts from the top – many people within our leadership team have shared their stories about their own mental health challenges, which sends the message that it really is ok not to be ok.
The wellbeing programme aims to support this with regular “Community Circles” where people can take time out of their day to talk about whatever’s on their mind in a safe environment. And on a lighter note, our Social club has hosted many events, from cheese and wine evenings to virtual painting classes, which have really helped us all connect with one another while working remotely. There are many clubs for people to join, and we try to make sure that COMPASS is really inclusive. This way, if people are experiencing difficulties, they will have someone to reach out to for support.
It’s also really important to me to know how people are feeling. We make sure to ask for feedback and act on it regularly, which helps guide our efforts to build a culture of openness, empathy and compassion. We can’t remove all workplace stresses, but my hope is that COMPASS is a welcoming and supportive environment for everyone to thrive in.