What is the inspiration for Amani for our employee assistance programme?

We wanted to personalise the programme by giving it a name. So, we looked for a name that is meaningful to our staff across both continents, the Middle East and Africa. That is how we narrowed in on Amani, which has its roots in Arabic and means “wish”. When the word was adopted by Swahili speakers, it represented “peace and tranquillity”.

Why is this assistance programme important to us?

An employee assistance programme (EAP) is important because it protects employees’ wellbeing in today’s fast-paced and stressful work environments. With increasing stressors, such as economic uncertainties, constant deadlines and personal crises affecting employees daily, the EAP provides a confidential and accessible avenue for employees to seek assistance. By offering timely support and resources, the EAP not only promotes the mental and emotional health of employees but also contributes to better productivity, reduced sickness absence and a more positive workplace culture overall.

Can you provide an overview of the employee assistance programme provided through our partnership with LifeWorks, including the key features and benefits for our employees?

Amani is designed to identify and assist employees in resolving work- and non-work-related challenges, such as stress, anxiety, interpersonal issues, health concerns, grief, addiction and much more. When faced with any of these issues, our employees can contact LifeWorks through the dedicated phone or email-based support system and a specialist will assess their specific needs. Using information gained from that initial assessment, [someone] will schedule a one-on-one counselling session with a professional counsellor, who will evaluate the situation and make recommendations specific to the employee’s concerns. Employees also get access to a wealth of resources on physical and mental health, including articles, webinars and workshops designed to help them lead healthier lives.

How does the employee assistance programme align with our company values and commitment to employee wellbeing and mental health support?

Amani offers free and confidential counselling support to employees and their immediate family members on a wide variety of issues that affect their day-to-day wellbeing. Putting this programme in place demonstrates RSK’s dedication to creating a supportive and inclusive work environment in which employees feel valued and cared for beyond their professional contributions. It also underscores our belief in the importance of mental health and acknowledges the challenges employees may face outside of work that can impact their wellbeing. Moreover, the confidential nature of the counselling services fosters trust between employees and the company, encouraging individuals to seek help without fear of judgement or repercussions.

How does the Amani programme ensure confidentiality and accessibility for employees seeking mental health support and counselling services?

Amani places a strong emphasis on maintaining privacy and confidentiality when handling employees’ personal information. The counsellors are bound by their professional code of ethics and legal obligations, and they will not disclose any information without the employee’s written consent, and the employee will be asked to sign a consent form if the need ever arises. RSK does not receive any names, locations or personal details of employees who access the service. All reporting is done anonymously.

Amani offers flexible access to counselling services, including in-person sessions, telephone, online chat or video conferencing options. This flexibility ensures that employees can access support in a way that is convenient and comfortable for them, regardless of their location or schedule. The service is mostly available 24/7, thereby ensuring that employees can seek help outside of regular business hours.

What role does HR play in advocating for the Amani employee assistance programme and fostering a culture of mental health awareness and support within our organisation?

HR in any organisation plays an important role in promoting mental health awareness. By openly discussing mental health and self-care practices, demonstrating empathy and understanding towards employees who may be struggling and actively participating in EAP initiatives, HR can contribute to creating a workplace where employees feel valued, supported and empowered to prioritise their mental health and wellbeing. HR can actively encourage employees to use the EAP by promoting its services during times of organisational change, high-stress periods or following traumatic events. At RSK, we include this information as part of the new starter induction. We also run periodic information sessions on how to access EAP services and address any concerns or questions employees may have about confidentiality or the counselling process.

Looking ahead, what are the anticipated benefits and potential enhancements we foresee for the Amani employee assistance programme?

We plan to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of Amani through feedback surveys and outcome assessments, as well as analytical reports provided by LifeWorks. We will use the data to refine and improve the programme to meet the evolving needs of employees better. If the data show the need for further support resources in areas such as financial planning assistance, childcare referrals or wellness programmes, we could look into providing additional resources and expanding the scope beyond the traditional counselling support currently offered. Programmes such as Amani help diffuse small stressors and situations and stop them from turning into life-altering events that affect the physical and mental wellbeing of staff. This should lead to a reduction in sickness absence, an increase in morale and productivity amongst employees and, ultimately, better employee retention.