Meridian Energy


Nominee/entrant details

Meridian Energy


Organisation details

Size: 500-999 staff

Industry: Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services


Organisation background

Meridian is an electricity generator and retailer (including Powershop) We employ approximately 800 people all over New Zealand. Our purpose is 'Clean energy for a fairer and healthier world'. Our Values are threefold. Be a good human; We are inclusive and kind We have each other's backs We give our all and pursue success Be gutsy; Dare to challenge the norm and do better Be courageous and make it happen We're honest and rigorous about performance Be in the waka; We share the load and get there as a team We collaborate for the greater good We're a community


Executive summary

I have been an employee with Meridian for 6 years, and during that time I have had to contend with my own Mental Health issues, and those of my son, surrounding his Spinal Cancer Journey. Being an employee of this organisation has been my saving grace. The 'Healthy Minds Programme' that continually develops is unbelievably useful to all of my colleagues, especially in light of the pressures and changes to our world in recent years. I think this programme should win so that other employers can see what can be done and the benefits for all.


Background on situation and opportunity

This programme was developed in 2018 by Trish Allen - Health and Safety Specialist, alongside our Health and Safety Team and Mike King. Her own experiences, and the awareness of our Leadership team of their employees real daily struggles, have led to the development of a programme accessible by all employees and also their family members, to continuously be aware of, and reminded that help is truly available unconditionally. Meridian has always been outstanding in the field of diversity and inclusion, and this extensive programme is a valuable adjunct to the overall health and safety support for all.


Strategy

'My Mind Matters' is a new online learning programme that forms part of our 'Healthy Minds' initiative, which was launched in 2018 with the aim of providing greater mental wellness support to you, your families and the communities in which we operate. The programme helped change the way we talk about mental health, normalising these conversations and providing ongoing support and resources to help, found on Electric Avenue under 'My Wellbeing'. With 'My Mind Matters', we are adding an extra tool to our mental health toolkit – eLearning consisting of five modules for you to work through at your own pace. Module One: What is Mental Health. To help with our understanding of what is meant by ‘mental health’ and what the indications may be of mental illness. Module Two: Mental Health in the Workplace. Factors that can lead to a positive workplace regarding mental health, and strategies that you and your managers can use to strengthen and improve mental health at work. Module Three: Stress. To help with our understanding of stress and tactics to help manage it. Module Four: Suicide Risk and Intervention Tools. To help us understand the thoughts and emotions behind suicidal behaviour, the indicators that a person may display when considering suicide, and steps to take if you see the warning signs. Module Five: Looking After Yourself and Others. To help us understand the differences between mental illness and mental distress, identify the most common forms of mental illness and strategies for helping others with mental health problems.​​​​​​​ For those of you who completed the Healthy Minds Programme, you will see some key concepts pulled through into 'My Mind Matters'. You’ll also see the familiar face of Mike King throughout the modules along with a couple of our own people who share their personal journeys.


Execution

Our Intranet page has a 'Working here' section with a 'My Wellbeing' section easily identifiable with the following information; Your wellbeing, including your mental health, is really important. As a company, we want to do all we can to ensure your health and wellbeing are kept in tip-top shape. We have a range of providers, services and resources for you to access any time. Healthy Minds The mental wellness of our people and providing a supportive workplace for those managing a mental health issue, are incredibly important to us. Our Healthy Minds programme provides mental health support as well as increasing awareness to help normalise conversations about mental health. Talk Our Healthy Minds team is made up of people from across our sites who you can talk to about mental wellbeing. We also have several trained and caring people within our company if you'd like to speak to someone confidentially: Trish Allen: 021 xxx xxx Chloe Smith: 021 xxx xxx Rachael Lacy: 021 xxx xxx Free counselling service Our company provides all our people, as well as immediate family members (e.g. partners, children, including stepchildren), with a free counselling service. There are three options for you and your family: You can seek assistance for a referral to an external, qualified counsellor that would be the best fit for you. You can self-refer yourself or a family member to Jessie Kendall, a qualified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner who can provide one-on-one coaching sessions. You can contact her at: 021 xxx xxx, email her: [email protected] or visit her website for more information. EAP Services on 0800 327 669 Call day or night. They provide free and confidential in-person, telephone and eCounselling services. External helplines Text or free call 1737 thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626 Anxiety New Zealand - 0800 ANXIETY Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825


Engagement and communication

Meridian tirelessly promotes the 'Healthy Minds' programme and subsequent initiative 'My Mind Matters'! The Intranet has a dedicated section on 'My Wellbeing' with regularly updated news, links and stories about, and from within (staff personal experiences), the Organisation. This demonstrates their awareness of this everyday issue and the determination to help make all employees lives, both work and personal, the most supportive it can be. Constant new informative emails to all keep both new and existing staff informed about the programme. This ensures it is forefront in the minds of those it is targeted to assist. Modules and surveys to ensure staff are engaged are regularly introduced and discussed at Team Meetings. Any personal sharing is loudly commended so that this is encouraged and becomes the norm rather than the exception.


Impact

As a long term employee of Meridian, and an older one at that!; I can genuinely attest to how valuable the Healthy Minds Programme is! As the mother of a terminally adult son, a Type 1 Diabetic with Rheumatoid Arthritis (both hidden disabilities), the mother of a gay son, a citizen of Christchurch City and the monumental tragedies the community has faced; I am able to identify with people from all walks of life. This means that I often have my colleagues, many of whom have become friends, confide in me when times are tough. Being able to hand on heart tell them my own experiences with support and understanding from Meridian, lifts my spirits everyday! And hearing the very real and genuine stories of relief that they feel once they step forward for help is life changing. My nomination is amateur at best - but I could not pass up the opportunity to showcase what is going on here when the opportunity arose through the Headfit Awards. Bravo for investing in this all important societal issue. I can not speak more highly of this organisation in this regard specifically! We are truly blessed to have a phenomenal employer. May their actions and care inspire others and reward their own.


Inclusion

As a company, we're committed to raising our understanding and empathy for those who face accessibility challenges, and providing an inclusive workplace that better supports everyone's needs. We've committed to a continual improvement plan to meet the accessibility needs of our staff and customers, now and in the future. It's important to us to be a good employer and a supportive member of our communities. Our journey started in 2020 when we gained the Accessibility Tick. How we are improving accessibility: Tactic 1: Education Raise awareness of accessibility challenges through articles and speakers. Hearing voices from both our own staff and members in our community regarding the different faces of accessibility (from physical challenges, neurological diversity, hidden disability, chronic health conditions, etc.), the challenges they face and what steps we can all take to ‘level up’ the playing field, will increase our empathy and understanding. Tactic 2: Our workplaces Using the actions identified by the Accessibility Tick assessment, look to make incremental changes to our workplaces, including physical spaces and online tools, to ensure we are providing a more accessible workplace to both our staff and our customers. Look to partner with those agencies and companies across NZ to support those with accessibility challenges to provide support where we can. Tactic 3: Recruitment Look to rectify NZ’s under-representation of those with accessibility challenges in the workforce by working with agencies who specialize in providing a pathway to employment. Review our approach to recruitment and selection to ensure we are not alienating anyone with accessibility challenges from applying for positions at our company. Work closely with the flexibility workstream to promote our flexible work options can help those with accessibility challenges work for our company. For more, check out the Belonging Strategy, our Accessibility Action Plan, and Meridian's Commitment to Accessibility.


Innovation and creativity

The following email sent company wide demonstrates the constant innovation and creativity of the plan; ----------------------- Help us re-shape our Wellbeing Programme Trish Allen Health & Safety Specialist ​​​​​ Our current Wellbeing Programme has grown over time and we offer some good services to support the mental health and wellbeing of our people. However we’re keen to review what we have and determine if it’s still meeting your expectations. We’re keen to hear from you! Your responses to the survey below, along with interviews we’re conducting, best-practice research, and info from other sources such as our ‘pulse’ employee engagement surveys, will help us re-shape our Wellbeing Programme to ensure it’s hitting the mark. About our current Wellbeing Programme Our current programme includes initiatives and support such as: Mental health support: EAP (counselling services), one-on-one coaching sessions provided by Jessie Kendall, and our Healthy Minds Programme (self-help resources and education) Health promotion: Tracksuit Inc subscription (an online programme for health and wellness), weekly fruit deliveries, sunscreen provision, ergonomics assessments and flu vaccinations. Wellbeing initiatives: flexible work options, purchase of annual leave and site-specific initiatives organised by your site’s Health & Safety Committee. This survey is confidential and should only take 5-10 minutes to complete. It closes 5pm, Monday 19 April 2021.


Supporting materials (optional)


Photograph of key staff (optional)


Link to video (optional)


Referee details

Nial Bleakley, Business Team Manager (Meridian Energy)

021346218 • [email protected]


Key contact

Hilary Smith, Business Customer Consultant (Meridian Energy)

0272608025 • [email protected]

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