How Spill acts as a comfort blanket for new managers at CharlieHR

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Amy from CharlieHR
Amy Cowpe is Chief of Staff at CharlieHR, a London-based company
building HR software for forward-thinking teams

The challenge

Charlie is a specialist software that makes HR effortless and helps companies build engaged and high-performing cultures. And as a company whose core purpose is to promote progressive people practices, Charlie needs to lead by example.

Over the past year, the team at Charlie has grown by 50%. One of the challenges to such rapid growth, Amy tells us, is a shift in management structure. “Before we had just just one layer of management, but our headcount growth meant we needed to introduce another. Being a new manager is very daunting in lots of ways. As well as becoming more comfortable with strategy and delegation, there’s also an expectation that you’re going to support the professional and personal development of your reports.”

Charlie was growing in line with its ambitions, but they wanted to make sure they were doing it sustainably. A recent study on mental wellbeing in UK tech companies found that 47% of team members still feel unable to talk to their managers about mental health struggles, and a whopping 80% of managers feel ill-equipped to deal with these issues.
Stats on manager mental health
A recent study by Spill and CharlieHR found that managers aren't well equipped to deal with poor mental health
Charlie needed a support system for people at every level of the business. Without one, they knew they were putting people at risk of experiencing poor mental health without a way to overcome it.

Charlie's approach

As Chief of Staff, Amy was challenged to put mental health at the heart of Charlie’s operations. One of the first things that she introduced in her new role were ‘Personal Days’, days which the team could take off when they needed to rest and reset. “One of the things that we really champion is that people come to work with their tank full. We can’t be expected to produce amazing work if we’re drained, so we give people the space to get back to an equilibrium.”
The CharlieHR remote team on a video call
The Charlie team are hybrid-first organisation with an  office in London; they all come together in person 8 times a year
At Charlie, encouraging employees to take time off without having to pre-book it is a signal that they see mental health as a central step to higher team performance. But Personal Days are still a reactive response to employees feeling overwhelmed. Amy knew that they couldn’t stop poor mental health from being a threat unless the company showed an ongoing and proactive commitment to doing something about it.

“In order to build a high-performing company, you need to recognise your limitations and look at where you should add external support. Being able to offer Spill makes it much easier for us to support our teams.”

Where Spill comes in

Amy says that Spill therapy sessions have been well used across the organisation. “The team knows Spill is there when they need it. It sits in Slack ready for them, and it signals that we are a company that sees people as human beings rather than just employees.”

Having Spill as an external resource also helps to bring the topic of mental health into the manager-report relationship without any awkwardness. This is especially useful for new managers who may not be used to offering emotional support to colleagues as well as professional advice. “It acts as a comfort blanket for managers by giving them something to refer their reports to, and turn to themselves.”
Having Spill signals that we are a company that sees people as human beings rather than just employees
Amy has also found that Spill helps Charlie to attract exciting new talent. “People reading our blogs and job ads can see that we offer Spill, and that shows what sort of company we are. It’s something people are prioritising in a post-pandemic world.”
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