AECOM proactive on workplace wellbeing

Chesterfield’s AECOM has proactively worked with Derwent Rural Counselling Service to positively address workplace wellbeing.

The global design consultants, which has 300 employees in Derbyshire, signed up with DRCS, via Derbyshire County Council’s Healthy Workplaces initiative, to put 30 line managers and senior management team through practical sessions about employee mental health and wellbeing.

DRCS management change expert John Saynor and counsellor Jo Bailey lead the sessions on prevention strategies including management communication and mindfulness programmes.

Jessica Dunn, graduate civil engineer at AECOM, said: “The programme, which is a series of workshops, has demonstrated and highlighted the link between developing an employee engagement culture, improved communication and productivity.

“DRCS has worked with our managers to create a tailored programme for our business, identifying how to spot any staff mental health issues before they become a problem, and reinforcing wellbeing as a benefit to our business culture. We are now looking at organising more sessions at the request of the attendees’ incredibly positive feedback.

“Making this link is a real positive for any company. I would fully recommend other companies sign up for this and work with their staff on improving mental wellbeing communication and behavioural skills.

“Industrywide, this is being taken very seriously. Companies we work with are encouraging us to consider well-being policies in our every-day work, as well as requesting evidence for formal contract pitches. These workshops with DRCS have allowed us to get a better idea of where we want to be and how we can get there.”

DRCS is the largest provider of counselling services in Derbyshire and has a 27-year track record of working with individuals suffering from common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress and long term conditions.

John Saynor, also chief executive of DRCS, said: “Conditions, such as depression, often go unnoticed but their existence can drastically impair an individual’s quality of life and their ability to work effectively and cost a company dearly in terms of inefficient and unproductive work practices and absenteeism.

“We offer guidance and mechanisms to employers to proactively assess and help their employees highlight potential problems before they arise and overcome mental health issues.”

DRCS is already Derbyshire County Council’s Healthy Workplaces’ provider of choice of wellbeing programmes to public sector employers and schools in Derbyshire.

Research shows that mental health issues cost the UK economy some £16 billion per annum – £3bn for therapists’ fees and £13bn for lost productivity, absenteeism and the use of other government services.

According to NHS England, one in four people in the UK will suffer mental health symptoms at some stage in their working lives. The CIPD states the average annual cost of absenteeism per UK employee is £760.

John added: “Many businesses fall behind in productivity terms because they simply don’t have the ability to assess, understand and support employees who are experiencing low level mental health problems.

“Our tailor-made courses include understanding the symptoms and causes of stress, anxiety and depression and the determinants of a wellbeing, employee-engaging culture.”

DRCS’s skills sessions focus on listening and responding, employee engagement, influencing skills and styles, managing effective work teams, behaviour analysis, conflict resolution skills, anger management and stress control.

For further information on courses contact Kim Heappey or Mark Penman on 01629 812710 or visit

Pic caption: Back row – Kevin Jones, David Elliott, Jonathan Tranter, Rob Spencer, Ed Bingham from AECOM. Front row – Jo Bailey and John Saynor from DRCS, Jessica Dunn and Tamara Percy from AECOM.

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