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February 23, 2024

Case Study: Jacobs

For the engineering and construction firm Jacobs, a focus on physical safety evolved into a “culture of caring” that includes 2,000 mental health champions, mental health “moments” in every meeting, and developing their own “check-in” app.


For the technology enabled professional services firm Jacobs, a focus on physical safety evolved into a "culture of caring" that now includes more than 2,000 mental health campions, culture of caring moments in every meeting, and developing their own "check-in" app.

The Challenge:

Jacobs began putting special emphasis on caring for workers’ physical wellbeing 15 years ago when, at the time, they were primarily an engineering and construction firm, as a way to ensure workplace safety. More recently, the company challenged itself to tackle the growing issue of mental health and the stigma associated with it and widen its “culture of caring” to encompass mental health and wellbeing.

The Solution:

From the top down, mental health has become embedded in Jacobs’ culture. Jacobs’ meetings traditionally begin with a “culture of caring” moment by participants at the top of each call. Now, these moments are often about mental health awareness. Jacobs has trained more than 2,000 employees to be “positive mental health champions” to promote mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, and as a part of everyday conversations, being available to listen to colleagues’ concerns and guide them to professional help and other resources when needed. In addition, managers have received training in fostering inclusion and psychological safety so that employees know they have a safe place to bring their whole selves to work.

And, in 2020 during the heart of the pandemic, working in collaboration with mental health professionals, Jacobs developed its own free “check-in” app called One Million Lives. It lets users self-test to see their current mental status, learn new ways of coping and track their status over time to see if they’re improving or declining. The award-winning app is available not just to Jacobs’ 55,000 global employees but also the general public.

The Result:

Jacobs’ organizational culture surveys, which include a focus on employee wellbeing, measure the effectiveness of Jacobs approach to mental health matters. Months after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employee survey results indicated a majority of employees reported being in a positive frame of mind – proof that Jacobs’ mental health awareness efforts had a positive impact on employee mental health.

Key Actions:

  • Developed a “check in” app for employees to receive feedback, support and clinical help with mental health issues
  • Included mental health concerns in “moments of caring” at meetings
  • Trained 2,000 employees as mental health champions.