Better Specialist Support - EDF Energy

Aim: To provide employees with access to psychological services and support managers to detect early signs of stress in their colleagues to prevent psychological and physical ill health and promote good mental health and resilience

Activity: Introduction of Employee Support Programme

Key impacts
  • Since the initiative has been in place there has been a significant reduction in the percentage of employees off work by the time they access support through the Employee Support Programme (from 28% in 2003, to 14.7% in 2012)
  • More employees have also successfully returned to work after mental-health related sickness absence with a very low relapse rate

In 2003, EDF Energy introduced the Employee Support Programme (ESP), providing all employees with the opportunity to access psychological services on a completely confidential basis. The service provides staff with a small number of highly focused cognitive behavior therapy sessions.

Round table discussions between employees, occupational health, HR and line managers were also introduced, providing the opportunity for colleagues to review work plans for those employees signed off work, encouraging a faster return to employment following leave due to stress and anxiety. Employees are also able to talk with their managers about issues of concern at work. This supportive environment has benefited employee concentration, memory and confidence and has helped both manager and employee to understand one another’s point of view to agree a progressive way forward.

In 2009, EDF Energy developed training programmes for managers on stress awareness and resilience, conducted by ESP trainers, to encourage managers to have supportive, practical conversations with team members if they detect early signs of stress developing. The managers are trained in the key elements of EDF Energy’s Stress Risk Management Programme which requires all jobs to be assessed for the six Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Stress Management Standards or stressors: Demand, Control, Change, Role, Relationships and Support. This has contributed to a reduction in the number of work related stress cases seen through the programme.  

In 2010, the training evolved to include support for managers on building resilience through change as part of EDF Energy’s Resilience Enhancement Programme (REP). These workshops explore the psychology of change at an individual level and provide practical ideas on how managers can work to build their team’s resilience. The programme has a direct link into the ESP so that anyone who needs to seek help can access either the service directly or refer themselves to Occupational Health.

The resilience programme is available to all employees and from early 2013; all employees will receive stress and resilience training through an e-learning package currently in development. This will provide links to the REP and the suite of training programmes which will be located on EDF Energy’s microsite.

Summary:

  • In 2003 EDF Energy introduced the Employee Support Programme (ESP), providing all employees with the opportunity to access psychological services on a completely confidential basis. Round table discussions between employees, occupational health, HR and line managers were also introduced, providing the opportunity for colleagues to review work plans for those employees signed off work.

  • In 2009, EDF Energy developed training programmes for managers on stress awareness and resilience to encourage managers to have discussions with team members if they detect early signs of stress developing. A year later, training evolved to include support for managers on building resilience through change.  

  • Since the initiative has been in place there has been a significant reduction in the percentage of employees off work by the time they access support through the ESP (from 28% in 2003, to 14.7% in 2012). More employees have also successfully returned to work after mental-health related sickness absence with a very low relapse rate.

 

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