How Heritage Bank builds a safe workplace culture with Unmind
Heritage Bank is one of Australia’s largest customer - owned banks, with a history (and heritage) that stretches back to 1875. Now they’re leading the charge for change when it comes to employee wellbeing.
They know that people and profit aren’t competing priorities. For a business to flourish, people need to flourish. So they set out to create a psychologically safe environment for their employees.
Watch how Heritage Bank launched Unmind and how it is embedded into flow of work:
Why psychological safety is key
Of course, creating a psychologically safe working environment is top of the to-do list for many well-meaning organisations right now. Yet Heritage Bank – with its ownership model and ‘people first’ focus – had an obvious head start.
Part of this was knowing that, for any chance that cultural change will work and last, you have to start up top. Leaders set the tone in organisations, and this alone can make or break any mission to shape a new workplace culture, with wellbeing at its core.
So, Heritage Bank began at the very top, with Margo Dewar, Chief People Officer, and Peter Lock, CEO. Their job? Unveiling the firm’s shiny workplace wellbeing partner (that’s us) to the workforce.
“We launched Unmind at our senior leadership retreat in May 2022,” says Margo. “How people show up, lean in, be present and support each other matters.
“It put in lights the role of leaders in leading mental wellbeing. It served as a proof point to our teams that mental wellbeing matters … as part of something we very much see as creating a proactive culture.
“For us, launching Unmind, and the way we did, was the start of our journey to improve our culture.”
“We want Unmind and we want it now”
Don’t forget: while leadership buy-in is key, it’s also just a startpoint. For a wellbeing strategy to really work, you need a whole organisation approach – where every inch of the business shows up, and feels able to talk about mental health.
At Heritage Bank, the fact senior leaders backed Unmind both early and loudly made company-wide awareness, in the words of Sue Lowe (Heritage’s Head of Health, Wellbeing and Engagement), “pretty easy.”
She adds: “When you’ve got the CEO standing up in front of all your senior leaders going, ‘We want Unmind and we want it now’, [This] made it effortless.”
The upshot of this approach, paired with the impact of the science-backed platform itself, is clear. Within a month of launching, staff were making Unmind a part of their work. Teams were using Unmind to start their meetings. A senior leader had even used it at a sales conference.
“It’s really easy to get caught up in the moment, but not so easy to reconnect with yourself,” admits Kimberley Kelly, a Heritage Bank branch manager. “[But now] we have Unmind for that.”
on the story so far, Sue Lowe has a powerful message:
“Sometimes I wonder if it’s enough. But then I hear a story from an individual on how [Unmind] has helped them, and I think that is enough.
“It is exactly what it should do. No one size fits all, but if we can help someone that is all we need to do.”
Want to learn about nurturing mental health and supporting psychological safety in your organisation? Speak to one of our team today.