Happy staff, happy life: How to ensure your mental health & wellbeing policies are supporting your employees (and business)

June 15, 2022

One of the biggest and most welcome changes to the modern workplace has been the increased focus on employee mental health and wellbeing. And we don’t mean the ‘mindfulness messages’ on your smart watch or the endless parade of ‘wellness gurus’ on social media…we’re talking about genuine, organisational attempts to make (and keep) employees comfortable, balanced and engaged while at work.

While the COVID-lockdown period was hard on everyone, employee engagement continues to be challenging during the post-lockdown ‘hangover’ period. While some employees have thrived away from the office environment (and are resisting and feeling stressed about returning to the office), others have struggled with the social isolation caused by long periods away; some may even have developed mental illnesses as a result. In each case, it is unlikely that an ‘inspirational’ poster, innovative social activity, or a communal tin of biscuits will be an adequate organisational mental health and wellbeing strategy.

The impact of good (and bad) wellbeing policies

Disgruntled and dissatisfied employees can result in unhealthy conflict, a lack of productivity, increased staff turnover, and the increased risks of fraud, corruption, and potential sabotage. On the other hand, engaged employees are known to:

  • Be more productive, creative, resilient, and collaborative;
  • Take less sick leave; and
  • Give greater loyalty to their employer

Apart from the obvious benefits to both the employer and the employed that emerge from supporting a happy and productive workforce, it is also important to note that employee mental health is a Workplace Health and Safety issue.

Employers have a legislated responsibility to manage health risks and hazards in the workplace, including psychosocial ones. A mentally healthy workplace is not just ‘nice to have’, it is something organisations should actively pursue.

This begs the questions:

What makes for a mentally healthy workplace?

and

How can we be sure that our workplace is doing a good job in supporting the positive mental health of our employees?

They might sound like heavy questions, but with the right tools, they don’t have to be hard to answer.

Get an Organisational Health and Wellbeing check

In order to help both private and public organisations answer questions around mental health and wellbeing policies and improve their level of support, Centium has developed a Health Check to assess your organisation’s approach to Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The Health Check is comprehensive, and includes:

  • A focus on organisational legislative responsibilities in relation to Health and Safety
  • Key guidance and better practice principles, such as the new SafeWork NSW Code of Practice for Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work
  • Systematic reviews and evaluations of organisation’s relevant policies, procedures, safety plans, responsibilities, support services, and training, against the governing legal requirements and better practice advice

Centium’s integrity, independence, and extensive experience in providing risk and assurance services to a wide range of private and public sector organisations contributes to ensuring that our views are objective, and our analysis is sound and evidence based

For further information on the Health Check please contact Penny Corkill, Centium’s Director of Risk and Assurance on 0409 251 011 or email Penelope.Corkill@centium.com.au.

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