How Spill helps the team at THIS to cope with big life events (and smaller ones too)

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Linh-Chi Nguyen is Head of People at THIS, a company on a mission to
"force animals into retirement" with its meat alternatives

The challenge

THIS is a plant-based food brand with a team of 60 people and counting. Pre-pandemic, they had always counted healthcare and gym memberships as a core part of their benefits package. But in summer 2020, Linh-Chi decided to give the team more ownership over their wellness benefits, rolling out a blanket £500 allowance for employees to spend on their physical or mental health each year.

The allowance proved popular, but Linh-Chi noticed that people were using their budget disproportionately on physical health. “We have a really good culture of talking about mental health in the business,” she says, “but when people are given ‘free’ money, they tend to spend it on fun things like sports classes and the equipment to train at home. Really, we believe that people should be prioritising the mental health side of things just as much.”

Understandably, it’s harder for people to know where to spend the money when it comes to their own mental wellbeing. Getting access to therapy can be a long process, and it’s easy to be put off if you aren’t in the midst of any immediate personal crisis. THIS needed a way of bolstering their mental health support to keep their team healthy and motivated – and to streamline a way of getting professional help quickly, if needed.

THIS' approach

Linh-Chi is a mental health first aider, and has a regular one-to-one with everyone in the business. “If someone’s going through a life event, we’ll deal with it on a case-by-case basis, and we try to give people more time off than they ask for. If they’ve experienced a bereavement, say, they’re usually quite conservative and ask for a few days.”

She adds: “we’d tell them to take a week, and we’ll meet again next week to see if they need more time. We tend to be a bit generous, if we can.”

Above and beyond giving people vital time off to regroup after a life event, Linh-Chi recognises that sometimes people need an impartial ear, outside of the business. “Of course we try to show as much support and empathy in the business as we can, but sometimes you just need some professional help.”
We show as much empathy in the business as we can, but sometimes you just need some professional help
THIS careers page
On their careers page and job descriptions, THIS mentions both their wellness allowance and Spill

Where Spill comes in

Since launching Spill at THIS, uptake for both one-off therapy sessions and courses has been high. “People are using it proactively,” says Linh-Chi. “And if something comes up in a one-to-one meeting, I can always suggest they book in a one-off therapy session. People tend to use the 6-pack of therapy sessions when they have a life crisis, like a break-up or a bereavement. We’ve had lots of brilliant feedback.”

Encouraging the team to check in with each other also adds enormous value to THIS’s close company culture. They use Spill’s Wall of Praise feature to nominate one employee for a deluge of personal, positive feedback each week.

“Our team loves the Wall of Praise. People get really stuck in. After each one, the recipient tends to post a ‘thank you’ to the team and you can tell they really appreciate it."
Wall of Praise has made people cry before because it's lifted their day so much!
"It’s made people cry before”, Linh-Chi adds, “because it’s lifted their day so much! That’s one of our favourite features.”

Spill is easy to use and easy to roll out as the team at THIS grows. And because it’s so visible on the team’s own communications platform, it’s a benefit that stays front-of-mind. “I love the fact that Spill’s integrated with Slack. Everything was simple and intuitive, it made it a very easy decision for me. To have instant support there for the team is just priceless.”
👉👉👉 Next up: How Spill acts as a comfort blanket for new managers at CharlieHR

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