happy employees

18 September 2020 posted by Nadine Neate

RUOK in the Workplace: How to build resilient, positive and mentally healthy organisations

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of building mentally healthy organisations – the psychological health and safety in the workplace. You’ll have to forgive us…we’re not going to stop. It’s just too important. And, while many employers we speak to acknowledge that the mental health and wellbeing of their workers is a concern for them, they often don’t know how to translate this to effective action. They know they want a workplace that safeguards the good psychological health of everyone in it, but they don’t know what this looks like in practice.

What employers can do to build healthy workplaces

So, to help employers understand what they can do to build and maintain mentally healthy workplaces, Recovery Partners psychologist, Vritika Chandra, teamed up with Nik Newling, official RUOK Day ambassador, to chat about mental health in the workplace and how employers can approach it. They ran a free session, RUOK in the Workplace, on RUOK Day but a few people missed out on tickets, so we’ve decided to run it just ONE more time, next Thursday, September 24 at 11am. The people demand a repeat performance!

If you’re an employer, HR Manager or anyone involved with health and safety in the workplace, RUOK in the Workplace will give you practical advice on how to build a resilient, positive and mentally healthy organisation. It’s essential viewing.

I’m in! Sign me up.

Hmm… I need a little more convincing…

Okay. With approximately one in five Australian adults aged 16-85 experiencing a mental illness, it’s unlikely that there’s a workplace in the country that’s not impacted by this issue. Those impacts can be pretty significant, too. According to Safe Work Australia, 7200 Australians are compensated for work-related mental health conditions and approximately $543 million is paid in workers’ compensation for work-related mental health conditions each year. Protecting psychological health and safety is also one of the legal responsibilities employers have to their employees (as well as an altruistic and ethical concern). But, these facts aside, there are also some compelling reasons why mentally healthy workplaces actually represent a solid return on investment for employers. Here’s just a few:

  • Mentally healthy workplaces are more productive

When you’ve learned how to protect and promote the mental health of the workers on your staff, you’ll notice that their productivity will increase accordingly. The World Health Organisation says so. Think about a day recently when you felt flat, unsupported and uninspired at work. It’s not really conducive to getting things done, is it? Workers who feel that their employer cares about their wellbeing and has made an effort to enshrine this care in workplace policies and programs repay this by performing better.

  • Mentally healthy workplaces have less staff turnover, compensation and absenteeism costs

According to a publication from the Black Dog Institute, ‘Economic analyses consistently show that mental health conditions are costing Australian businesses in the vicinity of $11 billion each year through absenteeism, reduced work performance, increased turnover rates and compensation claims.’ Plus, turnover rates also come with recruitment and training costs. When staff feel supported, retention rates increase, and new talent is attracted. Simple!

  • Mentally healthy workplaces have a more positive culture (and bank balance)

Your workplace culture can have a big impact on the performance of your staff, too. Many of us have had the experience of working in a company where employees felt like little more than cogs in a wheel, or we’ve heard horror stories from friends. It’s in these companies that staff are disengaged and dissatisfied with their work, and this is reflected in the quality of that work. Creating a workplace culture in which staff feel supported, valued, respected and cared for will boost morale. Higher morale means higher productivity. Higher productivity directly boosts the bottom line.

  • Mentally healthy workplaces have fewer OHS accidents

Mentally healthy workplaces have fewer accidents, injuries and other OHS incidents. Psychosocial hazards such as low job control, very high and very low job demands, poor support, low role clarity and low recognition and reward practices can all increase stress and operating in stressful conditions can lead to physical and/or psychological injuries. Poor morale can lead to disengagement with safety protocols, and low uptake of safety initiatives. Both of these correlate to more workplace injuries and OHS incidents.

To put it plainly, organisations that don’t strive to be mentally healthy workplaces are taking some big risks. The facts speak for themselves.

Okay, you’ve convinced me! How do I sign up for the RUOK in the Workplace to understand more about building a mentally healthy workplace?

Click here to register. We’ll see you then!

How else can Recovery Partners help employers protect the psychological health of their staff?

We’re glad you asked…

We provide a variety of psychological safety services, including:

To find out more, email us on enquiries@rrp.com.au or give us a call on 1300 647 789 for a chat with a consultant.

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Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au