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Promoting psychological safety in the workplace

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Mental health and psychological safety are a hot topic at the moment. Many organisations are exploring ways in which they can help their staff manage mental health issues at work and help to prevent them occurring by providing a psychologically safe environment.

In the last post we discussed how to spot mental health issues at work and what to do about them. In this post we’ll focus on future proofing organisations by promoting psychological safety and awareness

A report published by PWC, Beyond Blue, the National Mental Health Commission and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, found that on average, every $1 used to implement successful mental health strategies at work, benefits an organisation by $2.30. This was due to the reduced costs associated with

  • high staff turnover
  • reduced sick leave absences
  • avoidance of litigation and fines for breaches of WHS laws
  • mental health related presenteeism, absenteeism and workers compensation claims.

So what can employers do? The Thrive at Work Framework advocates the 3 pillars:

  • Create Conditions for Performance
  • Create Conditions for Connection
  • Create Conditions for Growth

Research shows that mental health is not only the absence of mental ill health, but also includes the development of positive mental health, characterised by positive thinking, feeling, and functioning.

Employers want their staff to feel and think positively in order to thrive at work. Those staff that are actively engaged in the workplace are more productive. Thriving is being energised, feeling valued, being productive and being open to challenges.

  1. Create Conditions for Performance

Employers that assist their workers to perform effectively will reap dividends by avoiding time wasted whinging and complaining and re-doing work because of confusion or poor standards.

Key strategies to create conditions for performance include:

  • training and development to build skill level
  • clear direction and communication
  • performance management and appraisal processes that are not just an annual event
  • training managers to support, coach and provide effective feedback to their staff
  • equipping staff with skills aligned to positive psychology
  1. Create Conditions for Connection

Connection not only relates to other employees but a connection to the meaning of their work. Human beings crave connection.

Key strategies to create conditions for connection include:

  • work environments that foster connectedness with numerous central hubs and opportunities for interaction
  • encouraging workers to takes regular breaks
  • organisational policies, procedures and behaviours that support diversity and inclusion
  • opportunities for employees to contribute to community-based projects eg. charity events, sponsorship, fund raisers etc.
  • developing a culture of trust and transparency
  • provide opportunities for social interactions with colleagues, e.g. check in with the team and offer time for sharing experiences/stories, social events outside of work
  1. Create Conditions for Growth

Growth includes learning, skill development, facing challenges and assisting others.

Key strategies to create conditions for growth include:

  • Play to employee strengths by identifying and leveraging them within the organisation
  • support learning and development opportunities both inside and outside of the workplace
  • create a feedback culture

By keeping these 3 areas in mind, organisations can provide a buffer of psychological safety for their employees to try and minimise the development of mental health issues in the workplace.

For more information on mental wellbeing in the workplace contact us at 1300850959

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JEM Management Training

JEM Management Training designs and delivers flexible, in-house management training courses to help  organisations in Perth engage their staff fully in the workplace.

As time is often limited, JEM Training offers flexible half-day management training courses which focus on a specific area of management expertise. These short courses build upon each other over a period of time, chosen by you, to provide ongoing management development.

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