Mental Health Q&A with Pfizer UK
To mark #WorldMentalHealthDay we caught up with the team from certified UK Top Employer Pfizer, where they revealed how they embed mental health support as a right for all employees, create psychological safety for employees, and how their mental health programmes are continuously evolving.
Which organisational values that you hold help you to embed mental health as a right for all employees?
Pfizer’s four core values are courage, excellence, equity, and joy. They shape our culture, guide our decision-making, and frame our approach to mental wellbeing:
- We know that it takes courage to identify our vulnerabilities, and to seek help when we need it.
- We want every colleague to feel seen, heard, and cared for. We apply our value of equity to our workplace, as well as to the work we do, and the patients we work for.
- We believe – wholeheartedly - that caring for the mental wellbeing of every colleague drives professional excellence. When we feel at our best, we deliver our best.
- When we give our best, we create joy. For ourselves. For patients. For communities around the world. It means we can deliver our purpose: breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.
How have your mental health programmes evolved in the past year? Are there aspects that have moved up the priority list and/or taken on greater urgency?
Our approach to wellbeing focuses on four overlapping areas: mental health, physical health, financial health and spiritual health. In the UK, our mental health priority in 2023 has been to ensure that all colleagues are familiar with the full range of resources on offer to them: whether they are feeling at their best and want to maintain that, or whether they want or need additional support.
Given the wide social upheavals of recent years, and today’s more flexible ways of working, we are also prioritising the importance of normalising the conversation about mental health. We want every colleague to feel confident about speaking up when they are experiencing difficulties, to balance work with mindful self-care, and to know that we are there to support one another.
How have mental health programmes and initiatives been impacted by more flexible, hybrid and remote forms of working?
Our approach has always been to make our mental health programmes fully inclusive. We ensure that our resources can be easily accessed, and that one-to-one support can be provided either in-person, or virtually. We communicate about our resources using every possible channel: from manager discussions, to emails, videos, and colleague resource packs. This approach accommodates all forms of working and encompasses all colleagues.
How have you ensured that your managers are reinforcing mental health as a right for all employees?
We ask all managers to share our wellbeing messaging and to actively encourage managers and colleagues to use the resources that support their mental health. These include volunteering opportunities and dedicated wellness days.
How do you create psychological safety for employees to feel they have a right to speak up about their mental health concerns, without worrying about how it will affect their careers?
As a business, we are absolutely committed to making Pfizer an amazing workplace for all. Diverse. Inclusive. Trust-based. Those cultural norms are foundational for psychological safety. To reinforce that, our leadership team speak out explicitly about mental health, and the importance of supporting concepts, like growth mindset, acceptance of failure, and the fact that we all have times when we feel less resilient, overwhelmed, or unhappy. We also ensure that all colleagues can speak about their mental health concerns safely and confidentially: either with internal Colleague Wellness professionals, third party experts, or with our trained network of Mental Health First Aiders.
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