Home' HR Monthly : September 2017 Contents Organisations have become very
interested in supporting the
psychological wellbeing of their
employees. Our increased understanding of the
role employee wellbeing has on engagement
and productivity, has led to a variety of workplace
responses and initiatives being put in place.
Organisations are considering awareness talks,
mental health training, resilience workshops,
CBT apps and culture reviews. There are a lot of
choices on offer -- which is the right one?
The first step is getting clarity and alignment
around what your organisation wants to achieve in
addressing psychological wellbeing. Getting this
right will determine whether you will look back at
wellbeing as a fad that 'came and went', or whether
it has become an integral part of the role and value
that HR and work health and safety (WHS) brings.
Questions to start thinking about:
1. What is the role and responsibilities of your
organisation in managing and enhancing wellbeing?
2.From an HR or WHS perspective, what are your
objectives regarding employee psychological
wellbeing and mental health?
3.What strategies or programs are appropriate and
Scenario# 1 Your organisation may want to be
part of a campaign to raise community awareness
and support for social issues such as mental
health, domestic violence or drug problems. If so,
your objectives may include increasing employee
awareness, providing workplace flexibility and
professional help for those affected. This can be
achieved through information and policy inclusions
integrated with a 'one-stop' assistance program.
Scenario #2 Your organisation may need to
better manage psychological risk reflected in low
engagement, burn-out, turnover or claims. This may
apply broadly, or to specific areas or roles. Here
your strategies will need to be wider and deeper
to be effective and to achieve your risk mitigation
objectives. The recommended strategies here
depend on a psycho-social risk analysis so that the
program is evidence based and not 'latest trend'
driven, and has a solid, cost benefit foundation.
Program components might include a wellbeing
diagnostic to help identify root causes, an employee
risk identification and management process and
action that addresses contributing factors over the
Scenario # 3 The third scenario is perhaps the
most common. Your organisation wants to support
the wellbeing of all employees with their various and
changing wellbeing needs. In this case, the focus
is on a program which is positive and motivating
for all employees, and also makes a difference for
individuals whose wellbeing is compromised or
being eroded due to issues inside or outside of work.
This points to a dual strategy that supports positive
wellbeing on a group basis while helping individuals
with wellbeing risk on an individual basis.
There are two core principles that can be applied
when considering what approaches are most
effective for this scenario.
● One's sense of wellbeing is an ongoing part of life
-- it fluctuates and the issues impacting wellbeing are
varied and change over time. Supporting employee
wellbeing is a process that requires an ongoing
'program' approach with an interactive set of activities
that work together as a whole to achieve sustainable
results. It is not a series of activities or a one-off event
or training program.
● Employee wellbeing across the workforce is best
supported by addressing the issues that impact
wellbeing, not by focussing directly on the negative,
end state, such as mental health conditions. For a
program to have impact it needs to engage the whole
workforce by proactively addressing issues that are
important to all employees.
Working through what your organisation wants to
achieve in addressing wellbeing will help you frame
the scope and focus of your wellbeing plan and point
to the type of activities or program that is required.
Life Street works with progressive organisations to
improve psychological wellbeing in a way that is proactive,
highly engaging and has measurable impact.
Paul Flanagan, Life Street founder, has over 30 years'
experience as a clinical and organisational psychologist
working with organisations. Paul has played an integral
role in shaping the wellbeing landscape from employee
assistance programs (EAPs), workplace mental health and
behavioural risk management to wellbeing strategy.
Wellbeing: A Guide
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