KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR employs approximately 1,200 employees with offices in 21 cities in 15 countries across four continents.
KKR’s wellness strategy is designed to help employees proactively manage their health goals from both a physical and mental well-being perspective. KKR recognizes that mental well-being is a foundational part of an impactful wellness program given how important it is for employees to have the skills to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors in their work and personal lives.
The firm continues to evolve health and wellness programming to foster a workplace that promotes inclusion and diversity, generates engagement in the consumption of benefit plans and ensures employees and their families are supported across a spectrum of work-life challenges that can generate daily anxieties and stressors that impact employee health and productivity.
As an organization that values its people, KKR supports the mental and emotional well-being of each employee. While physical well-being is important, addressing mental health is equally paramount to ensuring our employees’ overall health and wellness. The firm has committed to investing in enhanced behavioral support programs, reviewing opportunities for improved manager/employee training around mental health management and continuing to build a work environment where diversity and inclusion is prioritized.
We believe that by speaking openly about mental health within our workplace, while offering employees more resources to proactively manage their own mental well-being, as well as providing training and development opportunities such as unconscious bias training, we will build a more resilient and productive workplace.
KKR is currently evaluating the Mental Health First Aid training program, organized by the national Council for Behavioral Health and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. The program encourages optimal support between managers and employees by training managers to recognize the signs of mental health issues and to properly articulate and provide support to employees working through mental well-being concerns.
In 2018, KKR developed a global thematic calendar with each month speaking to a different dimension of the KKR Experience. The KKR Experience encompasses four dimensions: Values and Environment, which underpin all we do; Core Business, in which we produce exceptional results; Career Development, to ensure employees thrive; and Citizenship, to support people and communities. August focused on mental well-being and in 2018, KKR launched a partnership with Spring Health to provide all U.S. employees with an enhanced digital mental well-being resource.
As part of the launch of the Spring Health partnership, senior leadership sent a kick-off message to employees highlighting how support of mental and emotional well-being is a critical part of the firm’s overarching benefits and wellness strategy. This leadership message laid the foundation for follow-up messaging as part of the Spring Health program.
In addition, KKR leveraged its weekly internal newsletter, which is distributed to all employees globally, to feature five senior executives and their personal stories/best practices on how they manage their own mental well-being. The examples ranged from the practice of Transcendental Meditation to spending time with their daughter to recalibrate and ground themselves after a frenetic day in the office. We also leveraged the firm’s intranet site to post (during the month of August) twice-a-week tips, ranging from decluttering your desk/home to disconnecting from technology. Through these communication challenges we also conducted employee giveaways to Headspace subscriptions, Marie Kondo’s book on decluttering, and a Muse headband.
The Spring Health program was launched because KKR felt it was important to invest in an enhanced behavioral health program that improved employee engagement in accessing mental health support. KKR also wanted to offer employees programming that addressed the limitations of most insurer-provided Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Using the national average 3% participation rate for EAPs for comparison, with less than 5 months since the implementation of Spring Health, KKR had 10% of eligible employees access the platform, 75% of those employees complete a mental health assessment, and 50% engage with a mental health provider, indicating a successful implementation and engagement of employees in their health.
While the impact on employee health hasn’t been measured yet, KKR believes that continuing to remove barriers to care and closing gaps in health care coverage is an integral part of our health and well-being strategy – from that standpoint, the value on the investment (VOI) is more meaningful than attempting to measure the return on investment (ROI) on every dollar spent to potentially avoid future health care costs, because our strategies help employees be more present and productive, today. Being able to appropriately quantify the costs of improved mental health is both challenging and secondary to our focus on being a workplace that recognizes and supports employees.
Given the early stages of the Spring Health program, KKR believes that initiating the conversation around mental well-being in a way that is transparent and supported by enhanced access to care, is the start of a process to further evolving the culture of health at the firm.
While the focus has been on the U.S., additional resources will be made available globally. In addition, KKR will continue to focus on other means of supporting mental well-being through ongoing executive wellness coaching for key talent as well as making other means of mindfulness and meditation more readily available/financially sponsored for all employees, again focusing on the removal of barriers to engagement across all levels, titles and business units at the firm.
Co-Chairman and Co-CEO