Bhavik Shah is a young leader who has been outspoken in his management and technology consulting organisation, Capco, about supporting staff mental health over the past few years. So much so that alongside his standard day job as a Senior Consultant, he’s taken on the roll of UK Mental Health Lead, which is now becoming a wider global role as he’s relocated to the US and is expanding support efforts beyond the US and UK.
I had a chance to catch up with Bhavik and learn a little more about him in advance of his participation in our upcoming event, Make a Difference Summit US in association with Mind Share Partners. Bhavik will be speaking in our panel discussion How Millennial Leaders Are Disrupting & Evolving How Mental Health & DEI Are Addressed in Workplaces, taking place Thurs October 15, 2020 from 2:40-3:30pm EST.
1 – What’s your professional experience at Capco? How did you come into your role looking after the workplace mental health programme?
My professional background has always been within Financial Services. I work as a management consultant with tier 1 investment banks as my clients. Mental health has always been a priority as a manager, however it became a central focus to create a programme a few years back when I had a challenging client.
This client not only made me anxious day in and day out, but it also created a toxic culture for my team. It was at that time that I began having conversations with my senior leadership and decided to create a training on mental health awareness.
I proceeded to encourage senior leadership to be vulnerable and talk openly about their mental health journeys at several panel events which truly broke barriers within our company culture. As a company we have always offered mental health support when required, however, having the central leadership team be so open about their struggles carried a lot of weight.
Fast forward two years, I now lead a robust programme that provides varied pragmatic support to our 1100+ employees across the UK – and now slowly becoming a global programme to cover our other locations.
2 – How long has Capco had a support programme for staff mental health? Is this a national or international programme?
Capco has always provided support such as our Employee Assistance Programme and services from our private insurance company. However, mental health was re-branded back in 2018 with a new programme covering more services. Our strategy was precise and honest. This year, our programme is branching out and slowly becoming a global programme.
3 – What would you say has been the most effective aspect of your workplace mental health and wellbeing programme?
It was consistent messaging regarding mental health over the last two years that really shaped a global culture change.
We involved our senior leadership to be open with their testimonials. I worked with HR and L&D to offer the right amount of training. We collected feedback and used those data points from the business to re-strategise and see what else we can offer. We were conscious about always having mental health in the background so that our workforce realized it was not a one time effort.
4 – Since COVID-19 what has been the most effective aspect of your workplace mental health and wellbeing programme?
During the pandemic, we offered a series of mental health webinars hosted by an experienced psychologist. Some of the topics included anxiety, depression, avoiding burnout, and managing in difficult times.
This really resonated with people as they worked remotely and struggled during lockdown. It allowed the conversation regarding mental health to flow continuously as we navigated to provide the right amount of support to our staff.
5 – Is there anything you’d like to share about your participation in the How Millennial Leaders Are Disrupting & Evolving How Mental Health & DEI Are Addressed in Workplaces session at Make a Difference US in association with Mind Share Partners?
I am very excited to be part of a discussion that is truly transforming how we tackle mental health stigma at the workplace. Our challenges have increased this year, and may not go away for quite some time. I want to help organisations take away key tips to start their own mental health programme for their employees.
It does not require a huge investment and I assure you the benefits outweigh the small costs in the beginning.