How can you create a work culture that embraces positive mental health?

James Haq-Myles

James Haq-Myles, Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Well-being at Travelex, shares some practical steps on how to embrace a positive mental health culture within your organisation. James is presenting at the CIPD Diversity and Inclusion Conference which takes place on 15 May 2019 in London. Book your ticket today.



At Travelex, we recognise the importance of supporting the mental health and well-being of our colleagues. Given that 25% of people will experience a mental health issue in a year, we have taken practical steps to foster a culture that puts mental well-being at the forefront of our organisation. Much of a society focuses on a rehab approach to mental health, only offering support once an emergency situation has occurred. We take a prehab approach, ensuring that that we offer support to colleagues early on, so to support the wellness of our people before an emergency situation occurs:


Our steps to create a culture that encourages positive mental health includes:

  • Mental health first aiders: We have trained our CEO and exec committee on mental health first aid. Just as we have physical first aid, mental health first aid is equally important. By training our leaders on mental health support, we create a create a cultural dialogue that works toward removing the stigma that society has placed on speaking about mental health topics. We have also launched a global training module for people leaders on how they can approach well-being conversations.


    • Wellness action plans: We have created an action plan toolkit that can be used by our people managers to create a customised well-being action plan for colleagues across Travelex. It asks colleagues to let us know how they would like us to respond if we notice their well-being declining, as well as agreeing if we should inform relatives or loved ones in a given circumstance. It also gives the colleague an opportunity to inform us if there are specific triggers that impact their well-being, allowing us to minimise exposure to these triggers where possible. This means that the colleague has the right support, whilst ensuring that manager knows exactly what to do in any given instance.


  • Well-being champions: We have trained a global cohort of 70 well-being champions who are on hand to support colleagues. They are also trained in mental health first aid and are on hand as a first point of call should a colleague need someone to talk to.


  • Global support line directory: We have signposted independent mental health support lines available in each country we operate in through a global support line directory.


  • Mental health and well-being role models: We share the stories of colleagues that are open about their experiences of depression and other mental health conditions. By sharing their stories globally, we can reduce the stigma around mental health topics and encourage colleagues to ask for the support they need.


  • Vibe scores: We ask our colleagues to feedback on how they are feeling at work each week through a vibe engagement score. Colleagues can then look back at how their levels of satisfaction and personal well-being change week on week, helping them to identify trends in their emotional well-being. Our colleagues have told us that this tool has helped them understand measure variations in their mood over time, facilitating them taking action when persistently low scores are identified.


If your organisation is looking to take proactive steps to support the well-being and mental health of colleagues, it is vital you create solutions that put the individual in the driving seat of their own support. Whilst consistency of colleague experience and care is critical, everyone’s support needs are unique to them and any well-being strategy should be built around the principle of personalised care.


James Haq-Myles, is presenting the session titled “Quick-fire case studies – providing for different groups and protected characteristics to cherish and retain a diverse workforce” at the CIPD Diversity and Inclusion Conference which takes place on 15 May 2019 in London. Book your ticket today.