Skip to main content

Committed to supporting employee mental health

FTI receives platinum certification by Mental Health America for third consecutive year

share arrow printer bookmark flag

June 17, 2024

MENASHA – For quite some time, Faith Technologies Incorporated (FTI) of Menasha – an engineering, construction, manufacturing and clean energy company employing more than 3,500 people around the country – has put a significant focus on employee well-being.

Alyssa Kwasny, wellness program coordinator with FTI, said it’s money well spent – noting health and well-being are linked to employees’ safety and overall success.

“We believe healthier workers are safer workers,” she said. “We recognize if you don’t have your mind, body and soul in shape, you won’t be able to accomplish your full potential. You must have all three.”

Nature preserve memberships; paid work/life harmony time; massage therapy coverage; a special room in which to recharge with activities, such as yoga and meditation; on-the-job mental health training; AI mental health assistance; and zero-dollar co-pays for services, including counseling, Kwasny said are among its wellness offerings.

FTI consists of three divisions:

  • Faith Technologies, the construction division
  • EnTech Solutions, the clean energy division
  • Excellerate, the manufacturing and electrical innovations division

Highest recognition

Mental Health America, a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting mental health, recently awarded its highest certification, the platinum Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health, to FTI for the third year in a row.

The national employer certification program, Kwasny said, recognizes workplaces dedicated to keeping their workers’ mentally healthy.

According to Mental Health America, only one in four employers who completed the 58-point assessment of workplace policies influencing employee mental health qualified for certification by MHA at any of its four levels – bronze through platinum. 

Schreiber Foods, United Healthcare, WPS Health Solutions, Associated Bank, Kroger and Johnson & Johnson are among the companies with Wisconsin connections that also received the platinum-level Bell Seal designation.

Safe and sound (mind)

Safety in the construction, electrical, engineering and manufacturing trades, Kwasny said, is vital – and mental health plays a role in that.

“Poor mental health can affect concentration and decision-making and can increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries in environments where safety is paramount,” she said. “A decrease in focus can also lead to mistakes affecting the quality and efficiency of work… Mentally healthy employees are more likely to be fully present and engaged at work rather than being physically present but mentally distracted.”

Kwasny said the construction and manufacturing industries are high on the list of careers associated with suicide and mental health conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2021 that construction ranks second highest in suicide rates among major industries – mining is first. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 90% of those who die by suicide suffer from depression or other mental health conditions. 

An emphasis on strength and toughness in the construction industry, stigma surrounding mental health and fear of judgment for seeking help play roles in its high suicide ranking, according to the APA.

Kwasny said she describes FTI’s approach to wellness as holistic, encompassing mental, emotional and financial well-being.

She said the company’s most recent annual wellness survey found that almost 88% of team members said FTI’s focus on a culture of care has had a positive impact on the work environment.

Additionally, 84% said it has changed the conversation surrounding mental health, enabling them to feel more at ease talking about their mental well-being.

“We have put a big effort into mental health for several years and continue to grow our wellness program as a whole,” Kwasny said. “We’re always working to enhance our mental health offerings for our team members and their families.”

No shame zone

Reducing the negative aura surrounding mental health issues, Mike Jansen, CEO of FTI, said is key to encouraging people to seek help for problems.

“At FTI, we’ve worked diligently to bring mental well-being to the forefront of our overall wellness efforts,” he said. “At our job sites and offices across the country, mental health conversations are normalized and are enabling our teams to know we support their total health – mind, body and soul.”

Kwasny said FTI offers training for leaders and team members on mental health conditions and how to spot the warning signs in both oneself and others.  

Additionally, she said the company has what it calls wellness champions at many of its locations and job sites.

“Those champions help to improve awareness of our wellness benefits and programs, encouraging participation, answering team member questions, helping enhance the culture of well-being at FTI and working to make a positive difference in their peers’ lives, (while working to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health issues),” Kwasny said.

Revive, recharge, refuel

The recharge room: in a few weeks, Kwasny said FTI’s Menasha headquarters will pilot test its new recharge room.

If it gets positive feedback, she said other office locations and possibly job sites may integrate them as well.

The room, Kwasny said, expands upon the concept of the quiet room. 

“It’s a space for them to go to step away from their workday and allow them to utilize the different benefits we have…,” she said. “They can meditate, they can do yoga, they can do prayer – whatever it means to them to step away and de-stress.”

Kwasny said the room is equipped with supportive resources.

“We’ll have different exercises, different apps available to them to utilize if they want to listen to soundscapes or different meditational practices – (aimed at) supporting them in any way they need to decompress,” she said.

Enhanced EAP: After feedback from team members saying they weren’t able to access mental health care when they needed it, Kwasny said FTI launched its enhanced employee assistance program (EAP) earlier this year. 

She said it offers expanded services – including instant access to individualized care, from self-guided programs to mental health coaching, therapy, medication management and more, to team members and their families.

“It has different care options that align with personal preferences and lifestyles and includes in-person, video conferencing and text messaging options as well,” she said. “It offers access to a 24/7 in-house care navigator team to help guide their mental health journey (based on) what they are trying to improve in their mental health journey.” 

Now, Kwasny said 93% of those using the new EAP benefit can access mental health care in less than two weeks, with the average person making an appointment within one day.

Healthy lifestyle reimbursement program: FTI, Kwasny said, offers a $300 reimbursement per family per calendar year for various wellness items and services purchased.

Recent additions to the program’s reimbursement categories, she said, include massage therapy and nature preserve memberships.

The American Psychological Association has linked being in nature with lowering stress levels and the risk of mental health disorders, along with increasing attention, mood and propensity for teamwork.

Time to recharge: FTI team members – both full and part-time – Kwasny said, receive two extra hours per month of paid “time to recharge” in addition to their usual PTO hours they can use for self-care, training or professional health services, or to tend to personal or family concerns.

“This benefit allows us to emphasize the importance of mental health and taking time off to support their total well-being,” she said. “The benefit is a team member favorite. They’re invited to voluntarily share how they used that time to demonstrate to others how they can use their own recharge time.”

Kwasny said FTI introduced the benefit in August 2021 and since then, 93% of team members have been taking advantage of it.

To date, she said, more than 107,000 hours to recharge have been logged.

“This benefit allows them to go in and take it without them needing to get it approved,” she said.

Though employees are encouraged to let their supervisors know in advance, Kwasny said it’s not always possible.

“We know things come up on the spur of the moment, and it allows them to take that in the moment,” she said.

The 93% utilization rate, Kwasny said, shows people aren’t afraid to use the time, and they’re not afraid to share how they’re using it – which enables others to feel comfortable using it. 

“That compassion and understanding has come to the forefront for our organization,” she said. “People are stepping up and caring for one another… and understanding we don’t know what anybody else is going through and allowing them that time to talk to one another about it if they need a peer to lean on and also (to use) the support, tools and resources we have available in our organization to support them in any way we can.”

share arrow printer bookmark flag