WORKSHOPS REVEAL PROCESS REQUIRED TO SUPPORT EMPLOYEES’ WELLBEING
The Institute of Managers and Leaders (IML) and beyondblue Leadership Outlook series has shown participants how to create mentally healthy workplaces. The successful national roadshow was held at 18 locations around Australia and equipped more than 1,500 professionals, business owners and local leaders with the skills and strategies to support employees’ mental health.
Participants were given evidence-based practical advice regarding the promotion, risk-management and support mechanisms available to businesses wanting to create mental health strategies. Importantly, the events revealed how local businesses can develop realistic and tailored mental health plans in workplaces of different sizes, structures and industries.
“When it comes to mental health, in the workplace and beyond, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach,” IML Chief Executive David Pich FIML said. “Each organisation needs a tailored mental health strategy that considers everything about their staff in and outside of their work. Some organisations don’t act because they feel this task is too large and daunting and don’t know where to start. This is why the Institute took our Leadership Outlook series on a national tour, to equip Australian businesses with the resources and tools to take their first steps to create mentally healthy workplaces”.
beyondblue Chief Executive Georgie Harman FIML said the series gave business leaders an important starting point.
“With one-fifth of Australia’s workforce affected by a mental health condition at any one time, it is heartening to see leaders taking these issues seriously,” Harman said. “A mentally healthy workforce can increase productivity and is more engaged. PwC research shows businesses will receive an average return of $2.30 for every $1 they invest in effective workplace mental health strategies.
“Employers are increasingly concerned about the wellbeing of their employees and are mindful of the important role mental health strategies can play in a workplace. Participants of the Leadership Outlook series are now returning to their businesses equipped with the knowledge required to develop mental health plans for all staff, which is an exciting outcome.”
beyondblue’s Engagement Managers led attendees through the steps required to develop a realistic action plan for their organisation. Key steps included:
Step 1: Gain Leadership Support
Change must start at the top in any organisation. Leaders are crucial in driving mental health policies and practices and can influence workplace culture and employee’s experiences.
Step 2: Assess the current situation
It is important to get a good understanding of what you are already doing and where you can improve. This can mean reviewing relevant data and collecting anecdotal information.
Step 3: Create a plan
The action plan should always take an integrated approach to mental health, balancing the three areas of promotion, protection and support. When developing a plan, organisations are encouraged to take 12 key actions. Implementing the following steps over time will lead to the best results:
- Improve understanding of mental health
- Address mental health risks and protective factors
- Foster an anti-bullying culture
- Promote positive mental health and wellbeing
- Ensure job roles are clear
- Monitor how employees carry out their tasks
- Create a quality physical working environment
- Acknowledge the importance of work/life balance
- Insist on sound people-management practices
- Combat mental health stigma
- Support employees who have mental health conditions
- Help prevent suicide
Step 4: Monitor, review and improve
See how you are tracking and measure the effectiveness of your initiatives. Plan your review processes before you start implementing any actions.
This four-step strategy was presented at Leadership Outlook events around the country. Attendees were encouraged to use processes on beyondblue’s Heads Up website and to follow the steps in beyondblue’s publication ‘Developing a workplace mental health strategy: A guide for organisations.’
Reflecting on the events’ popularity and positive feedback received across the country, David Pich said, “After the overwhelming success of 18 mental health workshops over the past two months, the Leadership Outlook series has shown us this: Australian businesses are ready to take real action in their workplaces to support their staff’s mental health. Doing nothing is no longer an option.”
“Leadership Outlook is just the beginning of a fundamental cultural shift in how we deal with mental health in the workplace and in society”.
Leadership Outlook is one of many event series hosted by the IML focusing on management and leadership development, supporting their vision of “creating better managers and leaders for a better society”.
For resources and tips from Leadership Outlook, please visit http://www.headsup.org.au
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