Benefits Strategy

Stress & Burnout

How ERM Improves Workforce Mental Health through Continuous Listening

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Scott Brown, Employee Experience Manager, ERM

5 min read

As a consultancy, our people are the heart of our business. ERM’s 8,000+ diverse employees in 40 countries show up every day to help 3,000+ organisations around the world achieve their sustainability goals and commitments, like reaching net-zero carbon emissions in 15 years. The impact we make on behalf of our clients depends on the well-being of our workforce.

At ERM, wellbeing means our employees feel comfortable, happy and healthy—not just physically healthy, but mentally healthy and financially healthy, too. We want our consultants and staff to feel a sense of self-worth and to have the ability to contribute meaningfully in both the workplace and community. 

A “continuous listening” approach informs decision making

But the wellbeing of our workforce has been tested, not only by the world’s challenges but by ERM’s rapid growth. We’ve nearly doubled in size in the past five years, which means the needs of our employees, most of whom are between the ages of 26 and 35, are growing more complex. 

For that reason, we’ve established a “continuous listening” approach to gather employee feedback and inform our wellbeing strategies. We’ve transitioned from an annual employee survey to quarterly employee surveys that give us quantitative and qualitative data, which we refer back to in all our decision making.

What we’ve heard consistently from our workforce are the themes of stress and burnout, mostly as a result of heavy workloads. Having a client-service orientation can create an “always-on feeling,” but in previous years, we had seasonal valleys. Those valleys have disappeared, and we’re seeing stress and burnout have become a constant problem throughout the year. 

In response, we’re emphasizing mental health as a core pillar of our wellbeing strategy. 

Establishing a Global Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing

For the first time, we established a Global Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing role, and among their first achievements was formalizing ERM’s mental health champion program. Rather than having one global champion, we now have regional and country champions in EMEA, APAC, North America, and Latin America, and these roles are much more specialized.

Our champions are trained to understand the physical, emotional and behavioral signs of stress, anxiety and depression so they can offer the first line of defense and guide employees to relevant external mental health resources. Employees tell us the champions are a big help.

Offering an extensive collection of mental health resources through our Wellbeing Hub

We’ve invested in our internal Wellbeing Hub, offering a one-stop shop to an extensive collection of mental health resources, including employee assistance programs (EAP), counseling resources, Let’s Talk guides to help managers identify signs of stress and provide guidance, tips to establish work-life boundaries, and more. We bring in external speakers on a regular basis to focus on issues like stress management and suicide awareness, and we align these events to align with World Mental Health Day, Men’s Mental Health Month, and other awareness milestones and cultural moments.

A commitment to collecting quarterly data

We also collect engagement data by region and have a true benchmark that each region aims for, taking into account demographics such as tenure, office location and age, so that benchmarks are a more realistic target for each region. We’ve also had full regional participation in completing our Total Health Worker report, meeting our goals.

Calm’s new data insights  helps us tailor our mental health supports

Calm Business’s new data insights tools support our continuous listening approach. Calm’s data insights help us become even more targeted and tailored in our approach to supporting our employee mental health. Here are the main benefits of the data insights provided by Calm Business:

  • Deeper insight into employee utilization of Calm. Beyond engagement by location, we can now get more insight into utilization, such as in-depth data about casual users of Calm compared to power users. 
  • Insight into how employees are feeling on an ongoing basis. Calm’s new mood check-ins and employee sentiment tools help me understand how our people are feeling in between our quarterly pulse surveys and address any issues I might see.
  • Enhanced ability to respond in a targeted way to employee feedback. Based on these mood check-ins, Calm Pathways allows us to take action and push out curated content in the Calm app that’s relevant for specific mental health challenges like managing stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. 
  • Improved employee access to their EAP. We can now promote our EAP from within the Calm app, providing a link for employees to easily access it. 

All of these tools help ensure we’re providing the support our employees need when they need it. 

Calm has exceptional engagement across our global workforce

We feature Calm prominently in all our existing mental health challenges, from our company newsletter via our intranet to our internal wellbeing hub and our onboarding process. We integrate Calm into communications about World Mental Health Day and other awareness events, reminding employees that they have access to the Calm app to manage stress, anxiety, insomnia and other challenges.

Nearly half of our 8,000+ workforce has signed up for Calm, and about 80% of them are using it on a regular basis, which is exceptional utilization and among the highest of any of our global benefits.

Here’s just a small sample of the positive feedback we receive from employees about their experience using Calm:

  • “It is practical help to support my mental well-being which I really welcome. I use Calm every single day, the sleep stories are a godsend. I’ve also used the anxiety SOS option and the soundscapes to help manage chronic work stress, which is very bad at the moment. ”
  • “It allows me to sleep better, work better, and stay relaxed in spite of tight deadlines and long hours. I highly recommend this app.”
  • “I’ve developed the habit of meditating at least 4 days a week at my lunch and I’ve felt that I can manage stress much better.”
  • “Calm has had a massive impact on my physical and mental well-being. I particularly use it before bed, and some of the meditation programs have kept me grounded during a really tough time in my life. I’m so grateful that ERM has provided this as a benefit for staff – it’s really nice to have investment into staff mental health beyond the EAP. ”

For consultants under constant pressure, access to a tool that can help them get good sleep, manage stress and anxiety, and feel grounded is huge. I expect the positive feedback about Calm will keep coming.

Evolving to promote and protect the mental wellbeing of our people

At ERM, people are our most precious resource. Through continuous listening and data insights, we’re staying closely connected to their needs. By providing a full spectrum of mental resources—from preventive, self-care tools to mental health champions, an extensive library of mental health content, and EAPs—we’re promoting and protecting their health and wellbeing.


Help employees stress less, sleep better, and build more resilience with Calm Business

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