You can truly be entrepreneurial at Allianz. It’s actually really encouraged to try new things. This really suits me as I like to push boundaries as a person and enjoy the collaborative nature of teamwork. A great example of this is my initiative to bring a more formal Mental Health program into Allianz.
It all started when I took an external course on MEntal Health First Aid. I thought I knew a lot about mental health until I did this course. IIt was great! I was so impressed I brought it to the attention of my manager. Today the course is now being delviered in-house to formally train our employees as Mental Health First Aid Officers (MHFAO).
My role as an MHFAO predominately involves assisting leaders. In many cases, they call me because they notice a change in an employee’s behaviour. Mental health can be like an iceberg – you’re just seeing the tip of what might be wrong. Early intervention is really important. No one is ever going to be upset if you show you care about their welfare.
A time that stands out for me was when a senior manager recognised the signs that something wasn’t right with an employee and reached out to me to ask for support. We worked together to facilitate a confidential conversation with the employee who was in need of urgent assistance. We directed the employee to the right professional support. Helping that person get back to better mental health from a dark place is just part of the honour and responsibility of being an MHFAO. It’s quite a wonderful thing you can do for someone else.
The culture you experience here at Allianz is quite unlike anything I’ve experienced before.
The support for mental health is a testament to that. We all genuinely care about the wellbeing of our people. The flow-on effects have meant there is more awareness of mental health and more individuals now have the confidence to have particularly tough and vulnerable conversations with employees or customers.
At some point in almost all of our lives, things aren’t going to be going well for us. It’s ok to be vulnerable, it’s ok to ask for help, we all want the same outcome - to be the best we can be. Mental ill-health does not discriminate. It could occur to any of us at any time. That’s why I’m proud to say at Allianz we’ve been able to maintain a target of 2.5% of our employees as certified MHFAOs. I’m also thankful to Allianz for giving me this qualification which I have used at work, with my family and friends and the broader community. Being there to assist people to get the support they need to be their best is extremely rewarding.
Jay Epps, Senior Manager – Agencies Review, Allianz Insurance Australia Ltd