Like a Boss: Developing your own mentally-healthy workplace

In last week’s blog, it became clear that developing a mentally-healthy workplace can help decrease workers’ compensation claims, improve productivity and create a more trusting, cohesive team. Beyond Blue has identified the strategic goals a workplace should consider when attempting to create a healthier workplace for all. These goals include raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental health problems, promoting a positive working environment and proactively supporting employees with mental health conditions (Beyond Blue, 2014).

“Mental health is a continuum. Workplaces must examine communication and actions around emotional wellness in a multi-dimensional manner” - Dr. Matthew Grawitch (Healthy Workplace Practices and Employee Outcomes)

Based on the research of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, we recommend a structured four-part approach to designing your own workplace wellness program.

1. Develop a policy statement

A policy statement helps define the business value proposition of good mental health. It also provides a statement to potential employees about the business’s commitment. It can be shared in recruitment ads, induction programs and to remind the team of the commitment to each other. Example ‘2017 Mentally-Healthy Workplace Policy Statement’:

“We are committed to provide all employees of (insert business name) with the tools, resources and training to achieve optimal mental health. We are equally committed to developing and implementing the appropriate human resource and work health and safety systems to achieve our responsibilities in our duty of care for our employees.”

2. Ensure you have clear HR systems

HR systems and tools help employees understand their role, rights and responsibilities. HR systems and tools can include an Employee Handbook, Job Descriptions, Policies & Procedures, Induction Checklists, WHS Manuals and career development tools. In alignment with your policy statement, these tools help decrease work-related stress around things like job ambiguity (see our last blog). Moreover, they help employers meet their legal obligations and spell out important laws related to psycho-social hazards such as bullying and harassment, and alcohol at work.

3. Offer training and coaching

Training helps employees build and use personal skills to take responsibility for their mental health. Training can include work-related topics such as dealing with angry customers, to programs such as mental health first aid training. Other training topics can include resilience, managing workplace conflict and even how to ask for help. Employers can also schedule sessions on workplace values and how to be a good ‘workplace citizen’.

4. Develop a wellness-promoting culture

A wellness promoting culture helps employees understand, and contribute to, activities that maintain a ‘well’ workplace. This is the pure, raw, day-to-day stuff; the common courtesies, respect and recognition, social engagement and how we deal with challenges. A wellness-promoting culture is the glue that keeps teams together.

Why not talk to us about developing a mentally-healthy workplace program for your team. Mindpod is offering a complimentary 60-minute telephone consultation during the month of March, valued at $165. Contact us at support@mindpod.com.au to arrange your session.

References
Beyond Blue, 2014 'Creating a mentally healthy workplace: a guide for business leaders and managers'. Retrieved from https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1256-booklet---creating-a-mentally-healthy-workplace.pdf?sfvrsn=4