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Life during the pandemic has been far from typical and we know it hasn’t been easy for many Canadians, including our teammates. Together during COVID-19 we’ve lived and worked through public-health restrictions and lockdowns — all while facing an uncertain future. As a result, more people have been experiencing mental health issues including anxiety and depression while, at the same, persistent stigmas around mental illness mean they may not feel comfortable seeking help. Tackling these issues not only improves individual health — it also helps to make our teams and communities more resilient and better equipped to thrive and grow.
This year we’ve been more focused than ever on ensuring our teammates get the mental health information, tools and supports they need to support each other and keep delivering for our customers. As a nation-wide company it can be challenging sometimes to reach all our teammates, so heading into fiscal year 2022 we’ve tried new ways to make it even easier for them to get help, wherever and whenever they need it.
We were already developing a new mental health corporate strategy heading into fiscal year 2021 — and accelerated this work because of the pandemic. Our strategy focuses on fostering mental wellbeing in our workforce, making sure every teammate feels accepted and supported. Through pillars focused on awareness, education, culture and measurement, we’re taking steps to reduce the stigma around mental health, reduce the impact of mental health challenges, provide tools and resources to support our teams, and ultimately make sure our business is a great place to work.
Our mental health strategy work is advanced by our Human Resources team, with oversight and leadership from our Chief Human Resources Officer, VP of Labour Relations and Integrated Health Management. We track our progress and report to our Board’s Human Resources Committee every quarter.
mental health articles, videos and webinars delivered during the pandemic – 22 articles to our 4000+ office employees, 3 videos.
20 webinar sessions for people leaders.
Hits on our new mental wellbeing resource website to find resources on mental wellbeing and develop coping strategies and build resilience to help deal with uncertainty, mental health and substance abuse concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To view our fiscal year 2021 sustainability metricsClick Here
How We’re Making a Difference
Offering Training, Tools and Support
Being a people-powered company means recognizing the value of our teammates and making sure they get the support they need to stay physically and mentally healthy. In fiscal year 2021 we offered mental wellbeing seminars for operational leaders, helping them connect with guidance from industry experts about how to protect our people. Recognizing the stigma that surrounds talking about mental health, we also created a new resource to guide leader conversations. The H.E.L.P. tool guides leaders in how to:
- Have conversations with their team members
- Express gratitude
- Listen for cues, and
- Provide humble help
During the pandemic, we increased our benefits coverage for many of our employees to include additional funding to access mental health professionals, and made sure our teammates were aware of the many support services available to them, including:
|Employee Support||WHAT THIS DELIVERS|
|Employee Support||Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)||WHAT THIS DELIVERS||
Immediate and confidential assistance for any work, health or life concern
|Employee Support||Dialogue Virtual Healthcare||WHAT THIS DELIVERS||
Access to a care team of licensed nurses and physicians
|Employee Support||Financial Wellness Assessment (Manulife)||WHAT THIS DELIVERS||
Personalized action plan to improve financial health
|Employee Support||YouFlex Benefits Resource||WHAT THIS DELIVERS||
Enhanced mental health coverage in F21 as part of flexible benefits
|Employee Support||WellCan* *Sobeys is a corporate sponsor of this program||WHAT THIS DELIVERS||
Free wellbeing resources to help deal with uncertainty, mental health and substance abuse concerns during COVID-19
Making it Easier to Get Help
Reaching frontline teammates across all our locations requires fresh approaches. In addition to making mental health and wellness resources available on our company’s intranet, in fiscal year 2021 we embraced targeted online approaches to make sure everyone could get the help they need.
We launched a new bilingual website targeting frontline teammates with mental wellbeing resources, information and support. At sobeysmentalwellbeing.com, our people can access support resources, watch videos from their leaders and colleagues, and read stories about a range of topics including overcoming the stigma around mental health, dealing with feelings of isolation during lockdown, and how to stay fit and active at home. In British Columbia, we also piloted a new, anonymous peer-to-peer online support platform for anyone dealing with mental health issues.