Elsevier had no wellbeing strategy when Kamwell started working with the firm in 2019. Employee engagement was low, and rising pockets of burnout and stress across parts of the organisation meant Elsevier needed to wholeheartedly commit resources into changing the workplace culture and the wellbeing of its staff if it was going to meet its ambitious business agenda.

Kamwell was charged with creating a sustainable and impactful programme that reached all 8,100 Elsevier colleagues across 28 countries. This meant that, as well as taking into account the diversity culture contexts from such an international organisation, Kamwell had to cater for organisational variations across countries and work with different employee resource groups.

The solution was MindLife, a comprehensive programme that included regular global webinars, mental health training for managers and peer to peer sessions run by MindLife champions. The programme is also embedded into the company’s day-to-day life with a weekly newsletter and an e-learning platform. It was also made part of Elsevier’s onboarding process.

To make it work, Kamwell made sure to engage both the leadership and the grassroots of the organisation. Elsevier had 1,914 managers globally who were responsible for the wellbeing and psychological safety of their teams, and as a key performance objective MindLife provided an array of support to help them. As part of the programme, Elsevier now also has 73 dedicated and active wellbeing champions representing more than 13 countries, many of who have extra skills and qualifications enabling them to run sessions for colleagues and provide peer-to-peer support.

Another way to ensure employees engaged and took ownership of this wellbeing initiative was the creation of the MindLife Fund, which any Elsevier employee can access to run their own activity for their team or location.

The judges were impressed by the impact that the global wellbeing programme and strategy had. It had “great breadth and depth, encompassing a variety of topics and activities delivered through different channels, across countries and in multiple languages” they added, which was only possible because of the scheme’s involvement of employees across the organisation. “The programme had the full support of the organisation’s leadership which was an important factor in embedding it within the organisational culture,” the judges said, allowing “this new approach to wellbeing [to] become part of the daily life of Elsevier and [inform] the way people work and approach health and wellbeing.”

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