Interview with Monique Frant from Ace & Tate

Challenge

“It was during COVID that we decided to actively launch it in our organisation, as more and more employees started struggling with their mental well-being.”

Solution

We already had OpenUp in mind as an accessible model to lower the barrier for people facing mental health challenges.”

At OpenUp, we strongly believe that a key component in the workplace is to create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. We are proud to say that we are not the only ones working based on this philosophy. 

 

Companies such as Ace & Tate, are on the same mission to make mental health accessible for all their employees. Monique Frant, VP of People at Ace & Tate, shared with us her experience with OpenUp and the outcomes of this strategic partnership.

How did you hear about OpenUp?

We already had OpenUp in mind as an accessible model to lower the barrier for people facing mental health challenges. However, it was during COVID that we decided to actively launch it in our organisation, as more and more employees started struggling with their mental well-being. At Ace & Tate we have a large number of international young people (both in stores and offices), who were suddenly stuck at home without their networks and families. Especially at that stage of life, social contacts are fundamental and it was our goal to provide all the support that our employees could possibly need.

 

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When was the First Time You Thought About providing our service to your employees?

 

Before OpenUp, our employees could rely on the HR team, or on our confidential advisors and managers. Yet, we realised that these were all work-related contacts and some people might have not felt comfortable sharing personal issues within the work environment. At that point, we really wanted to provide fast access to someone external and separate from the organisation. The quick accessibility was also one key aspect for us, as people very often experience huge delays from the moment they ask for help to when they get to actually talk to someone. OpenUp can clearly make  a big difference here. Other reasons for which we chose OpenUp were the language availability, the anonymity and the competitive price.

“Having someone to talk to easily is a great way for employers to keep their teams healthy and a clear signal for employees that an organisation understands the challenges and actually cares.”

Is mental health discussed openly at your company?

 

We have a very open culture when it comes to talking about mental health and people in our team do not perceive it as a taboo. For this matter, we run polls every month and a wider engagement survey every six months. We also have a calendar with different themes and every month we pick one we want to highlight. That could be mental health, responsibility, DE&I and so on. There are a lot of different matters that we feature and this helps to keep our employees informed and engaged on a wide range of issues, from work-related topics to more personal ones.

 

What challenge were you trying to solve when you chose to partner with OpenUp?

 

We now have 700 employees whom we offer the OpenUp service. Our goal is to prevent people from dropping out, to help them become more resilient (as we have a fast-changing environment) and to avoid issues turning into burnout. To give you an example, I recently had a conversation with an employee who is long-term ill due to mental health issues and we talked about how they were doing and what kind of support they needed. They mentioned their conversation with OpenUp as a positive experience and this was quite rewarding as it means we are moving on the right track.

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“I think OpenUp complements us very well. We are a young and caring organisation that prides itself on welcoming diversity, allowing people to come as they are.”

Did you get any feedback from your employees so far?

 

What works really well for us is the word of mouth people do internally to support each other. If I look at the statistics we have every month, what actually surprises me is that our usage is much higher than I know of. Of course, I was aware that a few people were interested in the service, but when I see the actual number I am impressed by how many people feel comfortable reaching out.

 

 

What Made You Choose OpenUp?

 

I think OpenUp complements us very well. We are a young and caring organisation that prides itself on welcoming diversity, allowing people to come as they are. So, the service offered by OpenUp really fits with who we want to be as an employer. OpenUp is definitely something that underpins our employee value proposition.

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