Bridging connections both together and apart

PROJECT SCOPE

DEI
|
WELLBEING

TEAM
LUANA DICANDIA
GRACE LEE
ANNA RICART
LISA D'INNINZIO
JEFF DAVIS

THE CHALLENGE

Virtual connection

The rapid move to a remote environment left many employees feeling isolated and disconnected from their peers.

As the co-lead on OTPP’s mental health and wellbeing employee resource groups, I spearheaded an initiative to create more experiential activations that  built a sense of camaraderie over computer screens.

By going through a series of design thinking exercises to understand what people are going through right here, right now, we designed a program that drove more in-depth connections.

Therapy Dogs for Mental Health Week 2022
Jennifer Moss, Bestselling author and expert on burnout
Brand work from Tony Hanyk
THE APPROACH

More real information

Our events were successful because we addressed the unspoken issues that were effecting our colleagues.

Given the demanding atmosphere during the Pandemic, we needed to provide support and relief. Through surveys, discussions and interviews, we sponsored a series of live webinars featuring guest speakers who are experts in their field.

Hundreds of our employees attended our live talks focused on the issues impacting our wellbeing, our mental health, and our workplace dynamics.

Highlighted talks & events:
  • Talking to your children about the Pandemic
  • Preventing Burnout
  • Pregnancy, IVR & Loss
  • Coping through the holidays
  • Return to office anxiety
  • In-office Therapy dogs
  • Councelling sessions
  • Weekly Yoga and Meditation
  • Articles, guidebooks and tips for wellbeing
Speakers we've hosted:
Sharon Steed gives a talk in empathy in the workplace

More honest conversations

Key events featured colleagues sharing their personal stories

The most powerful events featured OTPP employees sharing their journeys. From coping with postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD. These stories resonated as they illustrated the struggles that our colleagues face and created a space for discussion, empathy and sharing.

Those who bravely shared their stories reported that dozens of their colleagues reached out after-the-fact, to show support and talk about their own struggles.

Highlighted talks:
  • Living with constant anxiety
  • My experience with postpartum depression
  • Living with a stutter
  • Living with Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • My experience with cancer

More collaboration

Finding intersectionality with our partner Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Connection thrives in collaboration. We held several events with our partner ERGs to address topics that overlapped both groups' domains.

Over the past two years we're finding more and more ways to host cross-ERG sessions. From talks with subject matter experts, to hybrid events and volunteer events for charity.

Key events:
  • How to be an ally
  • Women's health series
  • Culture@Teachers' podcast series
  • Anxiety about the environment
  • Mental Health Week (Multiple pension event)
Our partner ERGs:
  • Pride@Teachers'
  • Women@Teachers'
  • Multicultural@Teachers'
  • Green@Teachers'
A wellbeing package for Mental Health WeekA wellbeing package for Mental Health WeekA wellbeing package for Mental Health Week
RESULTS

People long to belong

The Able Wellbeing ERG has become synonymous with mental wellness for our organization

1 in every 5 employees attends our events

25% of all employees are Ables ERG members

In collaboration with our People & Culture teams, we were able to:

  • Increase benefits for therapy by 200%
  • Get Closed-captioning in all of our video conferencing software
  • Improve our offices for invisible disabilities
“This is a quote about Able from
a stakeholder or SME”
-Sam Sarnia, CEO
Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan
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