People and Leadership Finalist 2022: IBM Consulting with Audi

People and Leadership

IBM’s Audi Digital team believe that a culture of mental wellbeing drives a more productive, more motivated, more inspired delivery. So much so, that we embarked on a full cultural reinvention, driven by the team, encompassing everything including the length of meetings. We delivered great results for Audi not in-spite of our people focussed culture, but precisely because of it.

Implementing such a culture was a challenge given the various lockdowns and regulations of early 2021. These kept us physically isolated and emotionally strained, with blurred lines between home and work. Conversations to ask, “Are you doing OK?” became harder, because they had to be more deliberate. So, we committed as a team to embedding a culture which put mental health first.

We dedicated an entire week to focus on it intensively, and Audi Mental Health Week 2021 was the result. Team members contributed by sharing the ways that they looked after their own mental health, running yoga sessions, cooking classes, meditation, book reviews and group walks. We brought in Mental Health First Aiders to talk about strategies for helping colleagues and explored ways to overcome imposter syndrome.

We also periodically take a step back and ask ourselves – how do we do better? Are we really ensuring every team member is heard, and can influence the direction of travel? We do this with quarterly surveys, anonymous retrospectives and most recently the creation of a social contract to help us navigate the complexities of hybrid home/office working.

An often-overlooked aspect of mental health is for people to feel professionally supported but we wanted to address this too and we have built a system of technical mentoring to enable us to develop apprentices and interns frequently.

Mental health and inclusion are treated as intrinsic, critical parts of our delivery and we believe is it what has driven such impressive results:

  • In 2020, we generated 59% more digital leads despite 500,000 fewer visitors than in 2019.
  • We successfully completed a technical migration of to a new platform with zero impact to the end customer and with only 18 defects encountered

It was also clear that the focus on mental health has had direct positive outcomes for individuals. Feedback from Mental Health Week suggested that more than 80% of participants found it beneficial, and the majority of the account voted to run similar sessions more frequently in 2022. When asked “did you learn something new about mental health this week?”, more than 50% of respondents said that they did. One comment stood out: “One thing I will take away is how so many colleagues are affected by challenges surrounding their mental health, but everyone is willing to help each other out.”

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