Volvo of Edmonton Employees know where to turn when they are overcome by depression, anxiety disorders or other problems of the mind.
Michael Norris, the dealer principal, has engaged the services of a sports psychologist and chaplains to help his team cope with mental illnesses.
“It’s fantastic for the people, and it’s fantastic for the dealership,” Norris told Automotive News Canada.
And it’s working, he said. There has been almost no staff turnover in the past decade.
Canada’s auto dealers, like employers in other sectors, are learning the value of providing mental health support to their staff.
Norris’ interest in the subject was heightened several years ago when a friend chaired the Mental Health Classic fundraising golf tournament in Edmonton and could not get sponsors because of the stigma. Norris agreed his dealership would help pay for that event, and it has participated every year since.
Historically, said Norris, dealerships ignored the problem of mental health until affected employees were drinking so heavily they had to be fired.
He instead purchased bulk time from a sports psychologist who treats Volvo of Edmonton’s employees anonymously and off-site. The psychologist “doesn’t discuss what the issues are,” said Norris, “but he says these are the exact same issues he is dealing with in professional athletes and they are highly curable.”
Then Norris read about workplace chaplains in the United States and observed a successful example of a similar program in Edmonton. Today, a non-denominational chaplain visits the Volvo dealership once a month to talk to staff members who are under emotional stress.
HAPPIER, HEALTHIER PEOPLE