Commonwealth Bank Thrives

Published March 18, 2021

The health and wellbeing of its 45,000 employees has long been a priority for the Commonwealth Bank and in recent years it has significantly expanded its focus on mental health.

The Bank has developed a multi-faceted approach spearheaded by its Thrive portal, home to 1,400+ pieces of custom and curated evidence-based content to support its people through a self-led mental wellness journey, supported by 700 Thrive champions working across the Bank. This has been augmented by the ‘A Better Day’ holistic health program and the Bank’s Health Hub.

In the five years since launch the Health Hub has hosted 235,000 interactions with personnel, it has sparked 5,600 urgent GP referrals and is estimated to have helped save 130 lives.

With personnel located across the country in 1,300 locations, the Bank has from day one leveraged technology and digital solutions to connect to employees, and during the pandemic it also pivoted its Health Hub initiative online. That allowed it to tackle 65,000 virtual interactions during the year to support personnel who were grappling with their own challenges – at work and at home – as well as deal with an escalation in aggressive customer behaviour in branch and online.

Besides helping employees manage their own health directly, the Bank has developed a series of resources to allow leaders and staff to have conversations with one another and with customers about mental health. Education initiatives that have allowed front line staff to feel comfortable having conversations with customers about their own mental health challenges have seen the bank offer short term counselling support to 60-70 customers each year.

Dr Laura Kirby, recently appointed chief mental health officer at Commonwealth Bank, said the original goal of the Bank’s mental health strategy was to foster a supportive, open and approachable environment where people feel comfortable; to demystify mental health and reduce stigma; and to help people identify and manage workplace stress. In building on these foundations, the Health Safety and Wellbeing team are continuing to enhance their workplace mental health strategy to focus on the prevention and mitigation of mental ill-health and developing a workplace environment that protects people’s mental health and enables them to thrive.

As Australia emerges from the pandemic the Bank is exploring how it can refine its approach to support the wellbeing of staff and customers who are facing changed psycho-social risks associated with different or hybrid work environments.