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February 23, 2024

Case Study: Kearney

Kearney, a global management consulting firm, turned to its employees for ideas to address mental health. More than half of the company’s 4,000 employees participated, and 10 new initiatives are being implemented as a result.

The Challenge:

There’s “listening to your employees” and then there’s engaging them to be part of the solution—and putting collaborative plans into effect. After Kearney’s employees said in surveys that they wanted to see more action to address root issues of well-being, culture and values, its CHRO, Global Director of People Care and mental health leads decided to get the whole company engaged.

The Solution:

In May of 2021, Kearney held a “Global People Care Jam,” a 24/7, week-long virtual session, open to all employees. Half of the company’s workforce—more than 2,000 colleagues from all regions and ranks—joined in, collectively submitting more than 300 workplace well-being ideas. That list was sorted and winnowed to 20 ideas that the company took before the leadership team.

Ten were implemented—including a global health and well-being fund with budget for initiatives distributed to regional operations, and adopting the virtual mental health well-being platform Unmind—while other systemic solutions are currently being explored.

These initiatives complemented the rollout of other recent actions on mental health, such as a storytelling campaign for employees to destigmatize and normalize conversations about mental health, a 125-person mental health ambassador program and more frequent communication about mental health, including during biannual performance reviews.

The Result:

Thanks to Kearney’s employee engagement and company-wide focus on mental health, its global engagement survey showed a 7 percentage point improvement in mental health, while the burnout signal rate was down 3 percentage points. In the most recent cycle, mental health showed further improvement by 3 percentage points. Colleagues say they like the new programs and want more.

Key Actions:

  • Kearney solicited then acted on workplace well-being ideas generated by employees in a virtual week-long ‘jam’ session
  • Creating a global health and well-being fund to be used at local discretion
  • Training employees as mental health ambassadors
  • Prioritizing employee mental-health check-ins
Photo by Pietro Alves, Kearney