M-pact: how Nestlé takes a broad approach to mental well-being with the Employee Assistance Program

Nestlé implemented a major well-being plan in 2020. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) constitutes one of its main priorities. With this programme, the food manufacturing concern supports the mental well-being of its employees, both at work and privately. Stéphanie, Veronique and Kris tell their story.

In our episodes of M-pact, we check out the positive impact of a project with everyone involved: from managers and project leaders to those on the shop floor. We get together to discuss the collaboration and the end result.

The project

Well-being is an absolute priority for Nestlé Belgilux. My Stress Coach and the Health Check-up gave the company a clear picture of the mental and physical well-being at work. But it didn’t end there. Nestlé Belgilux sought a way of helping employees take control of their own health.

Well-being coordinator Kris Peeters found the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) by Workplace Options through Mensura. The EAP constitutes a support service with a network of psychologists and coaches, available to employees and their family members day and night. Since its launch in March 2020, more and more Nestlé employees have been finding their way to the programme.

In the starring role

  • Stéphanie Leblanc, prevention advisor psychosocial aspects at Mensura.
  • Veronique Vermeulen, Senior Account Manager at Workplace Options.
  • Kris Peeters, Head of General Services, Safety, Health & Environment at Nestlé Belgilux

Stéphanie (Mensura): “Mensura offers companies a wide range of support for addressing psychosocial issues among employees. This usually involves stress and burnout with a work-related cause. Over the years, we’ve accumulated a wealth of expertise in this regard.”

“But mental well-being at work is also greatly affected by factors outside the workplace. That is why we offer the EAP via Workplace Options. Nestlé is just one of the companies that have now included the programme in their well-being policy.”

Veronique (Workplace Options): “The psychologists are available 24/7, via several channels: telephone, mail, chat, SMS, etc. The EAP functions as a safety net that allows companies to signal to their employees that each and every mental problem can be addressed.”

“Stress, relationship problems, lack of self-esteem... We are here to help employees and their family members with all kinds of issues. Anything discussed within the EAP, is treated with full confidentiality. Our psychologists are completely independent and no information is passed on to the employer.”

“In Canada, for instance, the EAP has become an inherent part of corporate life. Here, mental well-being remains a bit of a taboo, especially within a work context. The only way to break that taboo is to open it up for discussion with initiatives like the EAP. And ensure very open communication in that regard. Nestlé is right on the money.”

Kris (Nestlé): “We implemented our well-being plan in March 2020. A different aspect of well-being was addressed every week: sleep, healthy diet, exercise and mental well-being, including the launch of the EAP. We also organised a panel discussion with two employees who had returned to work after a burnout. They were happy to share their story in order to help lift the taboo on mental well-being.”

“Employees were surprised by the initiative at first, but more and more staff is now finding its way to the EAP. Keep in mind that our country went into lockdown a week after the launch. This had a serious impact on the mental well-being of our employees. We responded by organising group sessions together with the Workplace Solutions psychologists, for those who were having difficulty combining remote work with family life. In this regard, our initiative came right on time.”

“We mention the EAP in every message about corona measures and consequences. To me, clear communication is vital. The taboo on mental well-being can only be lifted if you, as an employer, talk about it frequently.”

Want to take a broader approach to the mental well-being of your employees, just like Nestlé?

The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a service that employers can offer to their employers as an added advantage. It supports employees and their families when experiencing problems that can affect their mental well-being and, consequently, their job performance.

Want to take a broader approach to the mental well-being of your employees with an Employee Assistance Programme? Please contact us using the form below.