From gym memberships to yoga classes, flexible working, and coffee-pod machines, ensuring employee happiness is now a top priority.
But what about if you’re facing something a little more serious?
Illness, an accident at work, a personal crisis, or workplace burnout? How would your employer support you then? Could you rely on them when it really matters?
Rheinmetall is one company that is supporting their employees through it all. Its Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides a huge range of in-person and remote resources free of charge to all of their employees (along with their immediate family).
These resources range from counseling and coaching to legal consultations, financial advice, occupational health monitoring, and seasonal health promotions – and much more. And since many of their staff work in highly demanding project-related environments, the safety of its workforce is always paramount. As you will soon see in the stories below.
“Rheinmetall made my injury and time off work so much less stressful.”
When Jade Williamson, Reporting Officer at Rheinmetall, was injured, she was forced to take time off. It was a physically and emotionally difficult time, but Jade was quickly put in contact with the Dedicated Health and Injury Support team, and she says the support she received was invaluable in her recovery:
“The way they dealt with every phone call I made (some with me in full meltdown mode) was not only professional but showed so much compassion and made me feel so much better in a stressful situation. Having them checking in on me and genuinely asking me how I’m coping really meant the world to me.”
Rheinmetall’s Health and Injury Support team assists people through all stages of work and non-work-related health conditions, helping employees in their recovery both physically and with emphasis on mental well-being. Separate well-being programs address specific employee concerns, including COVID-safe behaviors, targeted programs for women’s and men’s health, heart health, and diabetes management. Rheinmetall also has established systems in place for any workers identified to have health risk exposure, such as exposure to certain chemicals during their day-to-day work.
“We knew we had someone to call if we needed help.”
Bernie who works in Corporate Affairs found himself unexpectedly facing a personal health condition and wasn’t sure who to turn to. After notifying his supervisor of his situation, Rheinmetall’s HR team became a lifeline for him and his family during his journey back to wellness.
“The HR team reached out regularly to check and ensure my family and I were okay. In addition, the interstate team, of which I am a part, sent an extremely well-thought-out card and care package. The impact of Rheinmetall’s help, effort, and understanding were profound. I am extremely grateful to Rheinmetall and my teammates for their reassurance, advice, and outstanding support.”
“The support I received was honestly life changing.”
The past few years have been difficult for everyone, and many people are still experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety as they juggle their work-life with other obligations in an ever-changing world. Someone who knows all about this battle is Rheinmetall Employee Branding Specialist, Charmaine Scott. In 2021, she found herself struggling to manage the demands of her full-time role, her team, her two daughters and her husband’s commitments as a full-time shift worker.
“I was on the verge of a burnout or a breakdown. I felt like I was letting everyone down, juggling a million things at once with no time for myself. I no longer recognized the person I had become and felt like I was literally about to fall apart. After a rough day at work, I burst into tears, gave my notice and just wanted to disappear.”
But Charmaine’s managers didn’t want her leave Rheinmetall, and did all they could to help her feel supported so she could get back on her feet:
“My leader gave me time off immediately to rest and get some perspective away from the office. She offered support services and checked in often. She removed me from the stressful situation I was in and when I returned to the office, gave me the areas of my role that I enjoyed the most to focus on. During this time, I was slowly able to regain parts of myself.”
Working together with Rheinmetall, and through the support provided by their EAP, Charmaine has been able to come out of the experience stronger and happier:
“I was offered reduced hours, additional leave, and regular working from home to help keep me on top of things. Through this I found a new love and passion in my work. Rheinmetall recognized this and even created a new role for me to move into.”
“When I experienced burnout, I thought I’d have to leave the company.”
Celia Rutherford, Health and Fitness for Work Specialist at Rheinmetall, shares a similar experience to Charmaine. With a self-identified “workaholic nature” operating in a high-paced environment, when Celia started to recognize the symptoms of burnout she assumed she’d need to find work elsewhere. Her experience couldn’t have been more different:
“Instead, my General Manager showed genuine care and concern, and set about workshopping not just immediate support measures, but also considering longer-term measures designed towards my unique requirements.”
When employees need their help, Rheinmetall works with each employee’s specific needs, and tailors appropriate strategies to help overcome their individual circumstances. For Celia, one solution was taking advantage of their flexible working policies, which led to greater life satisfaction overall:
“Utilizing the Flexible Workplace policy, I have now transitioned to a four-day accelerated work week with slightly reduced hours. It has enabled me to continue doing the work I love and make time for discovering other areas of my life.”
What is the long-term impact of an effective EAP?
Assisting and aiding employees through times of crisis is just the first stage of the process for Rheinmetall – the effects are often much further reaching. Listening to the individual needs of each employee creates an environment and general workplace culture where everyone feels appreciated:
Charmaine: “During my most difficult times I truly felt like I was seen, heard, and treated as a valued member of the team. I was worth their time and energy to explore options to keep me as part of the Rheinmetall family.”
The skills and strategies learned through these challenging experiences can lead to greater personal growth too, ultimately resulting in greater life and workplace satisfaction:
Celia: “I now have greater personal resources and resilience to offset against any challenges, and my eyes have been opened to a greater range of work/life balance opportunities.”
The positive effects of EAP also have a ripple effect: crises don’t happen to individuals but to their close network as well, which is why Rheinmetall’s support extends to close family with positive impact.
It seems that, for Rheinmetall at least, their Employee Assistance Programs are making a huge contribution to the overall happiness, well-being and, ultimately, productivity of their employees in all areas of their life. As Charmaine’s experience sums up:
“A year later I am now well, back on track in all elements of my life, excelling in my new role and loving what I am doing. I have balance and flexibility and a career I am proud of – and my little girls have their mother back!”