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. Case Study . 

Syneos Health

Industry:        Biopharmaceuticals

Size:                  29,000 employees

Location:         Morrisville, North Carolina

Time frame:   2022 - 2023


  • Discovery conversations, survey, and report of findings

  • Executive and extended leadership team sessions

  • Integrated custom on-demand manager training

  • Mental Health Champion Training Series

  • Policy review and return-to-office advising

Result highlights:

“The approach was data-driven... It helped some overcome the perception of mental health at work being a “fluffy” topic. It was really impactful for all levels, especially for our executives and senior leaders.”

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About Syneos Health

Syneos Health is a leading fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization built to accelerate customer success. It translates clinical, medical affairs, and commercial insights into outcomes to address modern market realities. With operations in 110 countries, the company supports a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture for all colleagues.

The Context

Syneos Health saw a growing need arise—which accelerated in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic—to place a greater focus on mental health support. While feedback through internal engagement research about supporting colleagues’ health and well-being was positive, it felt more support and a greater level of care, complementing their Employee Assistance Program (EAP), would help colleagues maintain their resilience and better navigate organizational change. This program, and the development of the organization’s Total Self culture, was championed by the organization’s former leadership.

The Solution

Syneos Health partnered with Mind Share Partners on the following customized strategy to increase awareness, start a dialogue about mental health, and equip employees with actionable knowledge and tools.


We started with deep-dive discovery conversations and a global survey. Data is a very important decision-making input at Syneos Health, especially for its leadership. Our team partnered with the Syneos Health Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Human Resources (HR), and Data Privacy teams to deploy discovery conversations with employees across roles and distribute a global survey to learn about the unique needs of its workforce. Mind Share Partners worked closely with the Data Privacy Team to create a discovery and survey process that was aligned with the global organization’s high standards of data and privacy. This data was compared to national benchmark data from Mind Share Partners’ biennial Mental Health at Work Reports and synthesized into a report and shared with leadership to shape a strategic approach for mental health.


We then held an executive session and additional sessions for extended leadership at Syneos Health. We created an executive forum to catalyze the support and commitment of executive leadership at Syneos Health for supporting a mentally healthy culture. This meeting was informed by the insights from the discovery work and allowed leadership to tailor a mental health strategy to the organization’s unique strengths and opportunities. In this meeting, Mind Share Partners talked about what a mentally healthy culture could look like at Syneos Health, how supporting mental health fits into its mission and goals, and provided tools for individual leaders to help contribute to a mentally healthy working culture—including actionable ways to provide support through their behaviors and communications. Mind Share Partners held similar sessions for extended leadership team members at Syneos Health with context for their roles.


Our team provided ongoing integrated custom manager training in partnership with Syneos Health CSR and Learning & Development teams. Mind Share Partners developed a custom training module to help managers understand how to proactively develop a supportive environment for mental health through allyship, supportive conversations, and healthy ways of working. The modules were designed to be easily integrated with the existing Syneos Health learning strategy.

Our team also implemented a two-session mental health champion training series. This series was designed to build skills for raising awareness, navigating conversations, and reducing stigma throughout the organization and uses reflection, case studies, scenarios, and action planning to make learning as practical as possible.


Finally, our team reviewed internal policies and return-to-office plans with considerations for how they impact mental health. Mind Share Partners reviewed select Syneos Health policies to identify and overcome possible hurdles that might hinder creating a workplace culture that supports employee mental health. The team also advised leadership on how to approach office re-opening in a manner supportive of mental health, following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Impact

“The approach was data-driven and based on the Mind Share Partners’ survey, Syneos Health internal survey, and additional benchmark data,” shared Beth Anne McPheeters, Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility.


“It worked really well for our highly educated, analytical workforce to have a lot of this work grounded in direct feedback from our colleagues. It helped some overcome the perception of mental health at work being a “fluffy” topic. It was really impactful for all levels, especially for our executives and senior leaders.”

Executive Sessions

The executive sessions were effective in helping leaders align around a strategy and build skills to support mental health in their workforce. Leadership at Syneos Health spent 90 minutes in this session on just the topic of mental health when time was limited.


McPheeters shared, “My favorite part was the executive meeting. The Mind Share Team was able to challenge how leadership was thinking about mental health at Syneos Health, and how those leaders were modeling behaviors. Seeing leaders dedicate time during a busy season to reflect on their own actions and thinking about what they could do differently for their immediate teams was really powerful.”


Leaders started weaving in their learnings and behaving differently, and their teams appreciated the time spent focusing on mental health amid a slew of other pressing priorities. Senior leaders who participated found the sessions “easy to understand and interactive,” “practical,” and an “important conversation to facilitate at all levels.”


From the post-survey, all respondents:

  • Felt more comfortable talking about mental health

  • Were more willing to work with a colleague who has a mental health condition

  • Had a better understanding of their role when it comes to supporting mental health in their workplace


Custom On-Demand Manager Training

Syneos Health shared that the custom on-demand manager training was well done, clear, and easily digestible for its team members. Managers really liked how the content was tailored to provide guidance on ways to navigate real challenges they were currently facing, from client deadlines to cross-company matrix management.


“The real-life scenarios were very realistic and helpful in understanding how to respond. It was also helpful to carry the key themes through to each lesson.” — Training participant


From the post-survey:

  • 96% of respondents felt comfortable talking about mental health

  • 95% felt equipped to create a safe and supportive culture for mental health for their team

  • 100% felt comfortable navigating mental health conversations with their team


“I thought the custom manager training was designed well to fit into our busy managers’ schedule with examples specific to our organization whereas an out-of-the-box solution may not have resonated as strongly with our teams,” said McPheeters.


Champion Training

Mental health has become a common topic throughout the year within their other Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). After the champion training, Syneos Health saw more mental health programming and topics happening within ERG communities.


From the post-survey:

  • 100% of respondents felt more comfortable talking about mental health.

  • 100% had a better understanding of mental health, stigma, and how they show up at work.

  • 100% felt better equipped to support a colleague around their mental health.

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Looking Forward

We asked Syneos Health to provide advice to other organizations embarking on launching or continuing their own mental health strategy:

“If you are going to start, fully commit to it. It can be easy for it to seem similar to 'greenwashing' to placate teams or respond to trends. If you are going to launch a mental health strategy, be sure to commit to it—and commit to it with the right teams. Identify the right team members and leaders needed for lasting impact.

It’s fine to start as a one-off solution, but think about how you will integrate mental health into your overall training strategy. Consider how you weave it into first-line manager training, difficult conversations training, or other types of training. Also, think about the structure of your training for different teams. Some teams will need more structure around this topic, while others will thrive with a more organic approach.”


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“It worked really well for our highly-educated, analytical workforce to have a lot of this work grounded in direct feedback from our colleagues. It helped some overcome the perception of mental health at work being a 'fluffy' topic. It was really impactful for all levels, especially for our executives and senior leaders.”


Partner with Mind Share Partners

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