Clifford Chance considers rolling out trainee stress programme across firm

Clifford Chance is mulling the extension of its trainee stress-combating programme, launched last year to promote psychological wellbeing in the workplace.

The scheme is currently delivered to trainees throughout their seven-month Legal Practice Course and two-week trainee induction.

In partnership with consultancy The Positive Group, the magic circle firm is monitoring trainee engagement and motivation through its Performance Optimisation Programme (POP).

POP comprises two face-to-face workshops, which aim to provide trainees with techniques and the ability to cope with stressful circumstances and to adapt to change. Additional monthly communication sessions helps trainees to practise certain methods of thinking and behaviour and implement the coping strategies they have learned.

Clifford Chance graduate recruitment and development manager Laura Yeates said: “Over the first 12 months of introducing POP, we have seen a decrease in absence levels and are able to spot individuals who may require occupational health support at an earlier stage. We continue to develop and refine POP towards our main goal of normalising mental health issues and building psychological resilience.

“We are also considering ways to tailor components of the programme for other employee groups within the firm.”

Yeates added that the firm wanted to raise awareness of mental health issues and tackle any potential stigma that might arise from such circumstances.

The development follows Hogan Lovells’ decision to bring its counselling service in-house after it launched a review of its stress management policies following IP partner David Latham’s suicide (13 September 2013).