As one of Canada’s largest passenger transportation companies, Via Rail has not only their travellers’ well-being as their central focus, but also that of their employees. Their HR team wanted to invest in a service that would ensure that the health and well-being of their staff members – both in-office and on the trains – were at their best. In 2020, the transportation giant launched Dialogue’s primary care program among all 3,000 of their employees, followed by implementing the mental health program in May 2021.
One of Canada’s biggest public transportation companies, Via Rail Inc. has been innovating mobility for all Canadian citizens since 1977. Headquartered in Montreal with over 3,000 employees spread out from the East to West coasts, they are focused on setting the groundwork for the future of sustainable travel in Canada. With the well-being of their passengers and staff at the forefront of their priorities, Via Rail also keeps the customer experience and rail safety top of mind at all times.
As a customer-focused company, Via Rail knows that the quality of customer service delivered by their employees is directly reflected in the employee well-being, and is therefore heavily reliant on how happy and healthy staff are feeling.
Via Rail decided to offer telemedicine support – and later, mental health care – to all staff so that they can take care of themselves and their families. Their HR team concluded that the best option was to invest in a resource that would help support all employees, from those working in-office to those working on the tracks.
Dialogue’s primary care program was introduced to all of their employees Canada-wide in 2020. Via Rail’s main goal in implementing Dialogue’s primary care program was not only to encourage employees to adopt an easy-to-use telemedicine service and be proactive about health, but they also acknowledged that healthier employees result in an elevated customer experience, too.
The primary care program was soon recognized as an invaluable organizational resource. “What our staff members like about Dialogue is the fast service,” says Laporte. “The triage is efficient and employees are quickly referred to helpful resources. The service is also very polite and all care professionals, either in primary care or mental health, meet the needs of our employees.”
The primary care program proved to be so successful among staff that Via Rail also subscribed to Dialogue’s mental health program in May 2021, giving their employees the ability to elevate their mental health as well. Their staff now has access to a full range of mental health professionals, including mental health specialists, general practitioners, nurse practitioners, therapists, and case managers to help them overcome issues such as stress and burnout, anxiety, work/life coaching, and much more.
“Following the success of the primary care program, we were interested in adding the psychological health component. It helps build a strong foundation to ensure that our employees have the best possible support to help them work through their concerns,” says Laporte.
Although Via Rail already had an employee wellness resource in place in the form of an employee assistance program (EAP), it was quite short-term focused and offered only about four sessions with health and wellness specialists. To fill the gaps in care left by their EAP provider, Dialogue’s Stress and Mental Health program was implemented as a way to complement and strengthen the health and wellness resources available to their staff.
“Dialogue supports our company values and mission as it directly helps our employees’ well-being,” says Laporte.
Staff appreciated Dialogue particularly because it can be used at any time, anywhere – whether at home, during a stay at a hotel, or on the road. With many of their employees on the go (over 1,200 of whom work on the trains and spend most of their days in transit), having easy access to a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals was a valuable convenience for Via Rail national workforce.
While Dialogue was there to help implement the primary care program as well as help create onboarding and communication strategies, Via Rail rallied together an ambassador program composed of unionized employees, managers, and other professionals to help promote Dialogue internally. This group was responsible for communicating any news or updates about Dialogue in order to keep employees informed about all of the services and resources at their disposal.
To further spread awareness about Dialogue, Via Rail also established additional promotional materials to reach employees working out-of-office (such as staff members working on trains) in the form of posters, slides for TV, and more.