Mental Health Week was held during the first week of May and from the looks of social media, many companies chose to recognize the week in some way.
But, mental health is not something that leaders should only focus on during one week a year. Employers have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of their employees.
What Is Workplace Mental Health?
Workplace Mental Health refers to policies, procedures, processes, systems, and initiatives that serve to enhance and protect the overall psychological health of individuals within the work environment.
According to Guarding Minds At Work, when employers adopt policies and programs to address psychological safety and health, they incur 15% to 33% fewer costs related to psychological health issues.
Canada became the first country in the world to have a national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace. This Standard comprises a voluntary set of guidelines, tools, and resources aimed at promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors.
Assess where your organization is in the workplace health and safety continuum:
Here organizations ignore or deny that issues exist or that they have a role to play in preventing harm. These health issues are personal and most certainly not a business issue. No financial resources are allocated to offering programs. Leaders and employees are to focus on work and not bring home, health or other outside issues into the workplace. Their philosophy is to do more with less.
These organizations may make some accommodations or offer a few programs. There is an awareness of work-life and mental health issues, but a limited understanding of the business case. Mental Heath is an “HR Issue.” There may be some informal investigation conducted to determine “burning issues” and offer some programs to increase awareness and strategies around them, however, financial resources to address these issues are very limited and only if deemed absolutely necessary.
Active organizations have an awareness of health and well-being, along with a tentative understanding of the business case. They know that these issues affect all employees, and are complex but manageable with the right supports. They also see how implementing strong policies and programs to promote health and well-being boosters its competitive edge and impacts the organization’s bottom-line. Programs are developed and implemented in the context of an organization-wide strategy that all leaders and employees focus on. There is some data collection, research, and analysis and regular benchmarking may be conducted. Issues are integrated into assessments and opinion surveys. Financial resources are still limited and seen as a cost.
ProActive Organizations at this level actively work to asses the overall culture of the workplace that interferes or enhances well-being. Initiatives are aimed at both individuals and organizational change. The concepts are integrated into all planning and organizational development processes and decisions. The organization embarks on influential research and formal review of the programs, process, and the outcomes of the individual initiatives and overall strategy. Financial resources are seen as an investment. Focus is on long-term organizational and community resiliency and sustainability.
Where does your organization fall on this continuum?
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