Lead by example, they say. Find your successes in those of others. Learn from stuff someone else has already cycled through. Want to introduce the concept of spirituality to your workplace? Find a company that’s pulled it off and steal the moves from its playbook.
This massive telecommunications firm takes it employees’ spiritual health so seriously that Telus House Toronto, the downtown office that opened in May, has a meditation and prayer room tucked among its other—decidedly more corporate—physical spaces.
These warm, starkly furnished, resolutely non-denominational rooms are quiet, open areas with carpeted or bamboo floors and dimmable lights. They all provide mats and have footbaths on site.
The office also houses a fitness and wellness centre that occupies half a floor, a gourmet kitchen where employees can participate in team-building sessions and nutrition classes, and physiotherapy rooms.
Telus corporate brass endorses an in-the-headlights focus on mental health that strips the subject of stigma. A committed program of awareness training for team members and leaders, as well as an abundant practice of covering the topic in social media vehicles, has made a difference.
All employees are encouraged to create personal development plans. Here, team members nominate personal and team goals and then set about achieving them with corporate support. Health and wellness facilitators and on-site life coaches assist employees to devise a comprehensive strategy that considers all corners of their lives and may include solutions such as flexible work options, healthy food in cafeterias and vending machines, or an expanded roster of available medical screening programs.
A steadfast philosophy of open communication fosters a sense of possibility and empowerment here. Internal magazines, blogs and newsletters spill over with a message of open, easy attention to matters of individuals’ whole-picture wellbeing. And all-employee meetings are frequently held to share particulars of the company’s progress with the entire staff.
Telus offers employees on-site classes in yoga, guided meditation, comedy, self-defence and Tai Chi, among other esoterica, both during and after work. The larger locations have gyms, access to on-site massage therapy and on-staff certified wellness practitioners.
An employee and family assistance program is available to employees 24/7, and team members are encouraged to ask for help before problems progress. A half dozen years ago, all of the calls coming into Telus’s employee assistance program were crises; today, some 40% are proactive inquiries. “We see that as a positive indicator that people are taking a more proactive approach to their overall health,” says Janet Crowe, director of human resources and wellness for Telus’s health and wellness department.
Peer coaching is available to employees so they might share in other team members’ wisdom. Team-mentoring programs concentrate on relationship-building, problem-solving and creative thinking.
Finally, Telus employees are encouraged to nurture personal growth through company-facilitated fundraising and volunteer opportunities. The company won the Freeman Philanthropic Services Award in 2010, the first Canadian corporation to receive this honour.
Says Crowe of the overall efforts her company takes to nurture the whole health of its most valuable resource, “Our people are very grateful that they don’t have to walk away from their spirituality for eight hours every day.”