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Psychological Health & Safety - Safety Professionals Workshop (Half Day)

Posted by Jason Aitkens on Monday, December 01, 2014.

Workplace psychological health is a critical issue affecting organisations internationally. Up until recently there has often been a reluctance to adopt proactive approaches to psychological health and safety, a tendency to avoid or minimise workplace mental health related issues and at times confusion as to who was responsible for mechanisms to ensure a psychologically safe and healthy working environment. With the current prevalence and costs of work-related psychological injuries, greater research into the costs of broader workplace mental health related concerns and clarity around known psychosocial risk factors, Safety Professionals have an increasingly important role to play in developing mentally healthy workplaces.

Safety Professionals have significant responsibilities in determining, actioning and sustaining preventative initiatives for psychological health and safety. However, ensuring psychological health and safety is not as straightforward as simply overlaying traditional physical safety models and approaches, and most safety related training does not adequately cover psychosocial elements.

The PSHW Safety Professionals workshop is designed specifically for WHS/OHS and corporate safety professionals to help develop capabilities specifically around identifying, controlling and preventing workplace factors related to psychological health concerns. This session provides an overview and guide to assessing psychosocial risk and implementing psychological health and safety initiatives for organisations.

Based on international best-practice and evidence-based principles, this half day in-house workshop covers:

  • Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces (PS&HW)
  • The business case for Psychological Health and Safety
  • Legislative/compliance requirements for Psychological Health and Safety
  • Roles and responsibilities for ensuring a psychologically safe and healthy workplace
  • Understanding psychosocial risk factors
  • Psychosocial Risk Assessment - Tools and Techniques
  • Mitigation actions – what to do and when
  • Prioritisation and action planning

This workshop develops essential capabilities for safety professionals to proactively respond to the increasingly business-critical workplace psychological health landscape.


"Psychological Health & Safety - Safety Professional Workshops" are available for delivery In-House across Australia. For more information or to schedule a session please contact CommuniCorp on 1300 855 140 or info@communicorpgroup.com


FREE "Strategic Planning for Psychologically Safe & Healthy Workplaces" Senior Executive Business Forums

MELBOURNE | SYDNEY | CANBERRA | BRISBANE

CommuniCorp is hosting a series of Senior Executive Business Forums focussed on 'Strategic Planning for Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces' in February 2015 free of charge for eligible senior HR/WHS executives from large (300+ FTE staff) government and commercially focused organisations. To ensure a genuine peer based learning environment, attendance is limited to those directly responsible for developing and implementing practical strategies for workplace psychological health.

As an introduction to the "Psychologically Healthy Workplaces Strategic Planning" Half Day Sessions these highly applied sessions are based on our real world experience and will enable executives to make an informed assessment of what they already have in place, what they can leverage from, and what capabilities/action points can be developed in-house. Participants will also receive access to practical checklists and strategy guides, as well as a wealth of practical information on:

  • The practicalities of Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces (PS&HW)
  • System, policy and procedural considerations
  • Determining organisational specific ‘business cases’, psychosocial hazards and priority areas – action, strategies and tools
  • Roles and responsibilities – introduction to Necessary and Sufficient Skills Gap Analysis
  • Determining program effectiveness - what, how and when to measure and what to expect


These sessions are hosted free of charge for eligible registrations, and expressions of interest to attend are now open. Full details of these session, and registration, is available here.



To learn more about CommuniCorp Group, and our programs, contact us on:

Email info@communicorpgroup.com | Phone 1300 855 140 | Web www.communicorpgroup.com

Psychologically Healthy Workplaces Strategic Planning Session (Half Day)

Posted by Jason Aitkens on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

One of the key issues faced by workplaces wanting to ensure they are building and sustaining psychologically healthy workplaces is knowing what really needs to be done and what initiatives are going to be most effective. This session, delivered by senior, experienced workplace psychologists, is specifically designed for senior WHS and HR leaders to initiate targeted refinement of attendees’ thinking around workplace mental health, strategic action planning, initiative prioritisation and discussions and planning as to evaluating program effectiveness.

In CommuniCorp’s experience, by spending dedicated time in this area, there are considerable cost savings that can be achieved in service delivery as well as greater consistency in workplace mental health efforts and identification of priority areas for an organisation to focus on. The session enables attendees to make an assessment of what they already have in place, what they can leverage from, and what capabilities/action points can be developed in -house.


Utilising CommuniCorp’s evidence-based Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces framework to guide the session and action points, this half day strategy/planning session covers:

  • Introduction to Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces (PS&HW)
  • The PS&HW Continuum – where do we sit?
  • Policies, Procedures and Systems – accessibility, utility and refinements required
  • Roles and Responsibilities - Gap Analysis
  • Priority Areas and Action Planning – Where to start and what to do
  • Outcomes and Metrics – Options for evaluating program effectiveness
  • Summary Reporting (optional)


"Psychologically Healthy Workplaces Strategic Planning Sessions" are available for delivery In-House across Australia. For more information or to schedule a session please contact CommuniCorp on 1300 855 140 or info@communicorpgroup.com


FREE "Strategic Planning for Psychologically Safe & Healthy Workplaces" Senior Executive Business Forums

MELBOURNE | SYDNEY | CANBERRA | BRISBANE

CommuniCorp is hosting a series of Senior Executive Business Forums focussed on 'Strategic Planning for Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces' in February 2015 free of charge for eligible senior HR/WHS executives from large (300+ FTE staff) government and commercially focused organisations. To ensure a genuine peer based learning environment, attendance is limited to those directly responsible for developing and implementing practical strategies for workplace psychological health.

As an introduction to the "Psychologically Healthy Workplaces Strategic Planning" Half Day Sessions these highly applied sessions are based on our real world experience and will enable executives to make an informed assessment of what they already have in place, what they can leverage from, and what capabilities/action points can be developed in-house. Participants will also receive access to practical checklists and strategy guides, as well as a wealth of practical information on:

  • The practicalities of Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces (PS&HW)
  • System, policy and procedural considerations
  • Determining organisational specific ‘business cases’, psychosocial hazards and priority areas – action, strategies and tools
  • Roles and responsibilities – introduction to Necessary and Sufficient Skills Gap Analysis
  • Determining program effectiveness - what, how and when to measure and what to expect


These sessions are hosted free of charge for eligible registrations, and expressions of interest to attend are now open. Full details of these session, and registration, is available here.



To learn more about CommuniCorp Group, and our programs, contact us on:

Email info@communicorpgroup.com | Phone 1300 855 140 | Web www.communicorpgroup.com

Presenteeism in the Workplace

Posted by Laura Kirby on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

Presenteeism is a workplace issue that has been receiving increasing attention for having a significant and costly impact on businesses, although this is just one key indicator that an organisation may not be psychologically healthy. It can be helpful to think about organisational psychological health as similar to an individual’s psychological health in that it operates on a continuum, ranging from ill-health, to healthy, right through to flourishing, with a range of different psychosocial indicators of where an organisation or a business unit or work team sits on the spectrum. Indicators that commonly reflect that a business may not be psychologically healthy include: increased interpersonal conflict; reduced team cohesion; increased psychological injury claims and rates; incivility amongst staff; escalated bullying/grievance reports and issues; poor engagement reports; high job demand and limited control and; poor person-job fit. Ultimately, all of these indicators tend to reflect a poor psychosocial climate within a business. Conversely, teams, business units and organisations at the flourishing end of the spectrum are charactered by a psychosocial climate of high engagement, high discretional effort, robust communication and innovation.

The Impacts of Presenteeism

Presenteeism and psychological health issues are likely to be seen at all levels of a workplace – across individual, team, and organisational levels. At an individual level, we may see worsening health, disengagement, and performance degradation that may ultimately lead to an individual being unable to perform the inherent requirements of their role. These effects then have a multiplier effect at the team and overall business level; at these levels we’re likely to see increased conflict and stress placed on team members who may perceive they are “picking up the slack” for employees displaying presenteeism, reduced team morale and effectiveness, and overall performance breakdowns and inefficiencies. The loss of productivity and associated effects result in significant cost and bottom line impacts for a business overall, not to mention the negative mental health impacts being experienced by the individual(s) in question, given how important ‘good work’ is to mental health.

One of the main factors contributing to employees coming to work when they are unfit to do so is work-related stress and perceived pressure to attend work, which in an organisational climate of “doing more than less” that we’re seeing currently, I’d suggest this is going to be an ongoing issue with significant short and long term impacts. Present estimates indicate that by 2050, the total cost of presenteeism will increase to $35.8 billion(1).

Negative impacts of presenteeism on individuals within a business include:

  • Worsening health with no opportunity for recovery
  • Greater performance degradation
  • May ultimately lead to an individual unable to perform inherent requirements of their role


The individual effects have a multiplier effect at the team and overall business level:

  • Impact of reduced individual productivity on team members, with others ‘picking up the slack’ and perceived unfairness, which may also directly lead to a heightened experience of stress
  • A contagion effect, including physical health conditions and negative attitudes across team members
  • Reduced team morale and effectiveness
  • Performance breakdowns and inefficiencies

What can be done?

A whole range of factors contribute to the prevalence of psychological health problems in the workplace, however, irrespective of the cause, implementing preventative measures is the best way to manage and minimise workplace psychological health issues. Which means businesses should be looking to create and maintain a psychologically safe and healthy workplace. This doesn’t mean implementing “feel good activities” around wellbeing but rather looking at strategic and practical ways to tackle root cause issues around psychological health issues at different business unit levels.

This may include implementing policies/practices that support psychological wellbeing in the workplace, increasing values alignment, encouraging good self-care and help seeking behaviour and managing person-job fit to ensure this is not exacerbating work-related stress, which is a significant contributing factor to psychological health issues. Importantly, there is an increasing trend for organisations to equip their HR, WHS and People Leader staff with the capabilities to identify and respond to factors that contribute to workplace psychological health and safety risks, so that we are intervening early and potentially preventing issues around workplace psychological ill-health.

Where presenteeism is an existing issue, some steps businesses can consider to address the problem:

  • recognise your business has a problem with presenteeism and openly communicate the importance of providing a psychologically safe and healthy workplace;
  • investigate and understand what kind of psychological health and safety issues are affecting your employees, which may differ across teams and divisions;
  • develop strategies to mitigate, reduce and prevent these root cause issues;
  • provide all levels of staff with the requisite capabilities to identify and address issues and concerns around presenteeism; this includes supporting staff to be proactive in managing their health and to seek professional help to address health issues, particularly psychological health issues, as well as providing staff with an understanding of the available workplace supports.

Looking to the Future

It’s difficult to determine whether workplaces ignore presenteeism, or whether it’s actually a case of workplaces not detecting that it’s a problem. Australian businesses need to be educated further about presenteeism and how to implement measures to ensure it doesn’t become an issue. Workplace leaders, including HR and WHS employees, should be equipped with more knowledge and skills around identifying and mitigating issues associated with presenteeism.

Ultimately, this will improve productivity, and in the long-term, generate a positive impact on businesses bottom line, along with the many aspirational benefits of providing a psychologically safe and healthy workplace.

1) Medibank sick at work report (2011)


FREE "Developing Psychologically Safe & Healthy Workplaces" workshops

MELBOURNE | SYDNEY | BRISBANE | PERTH

CommuniCorp is hosting a series of full day ‘Developing Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces’ Capability Based Training Workshops in October and November 2014 free of charge for eligible senior HR/WHS executives from large (300+ FTE staff) government and commercially focused organisations. To ensure a genuine peer based learning environment, attendance is limited to those directly responsible for developing and implementing practical strategies for workplace psychological health.

This practical evidence-based workshop is designed to help HR/WHS decision makers make sense of the increasingly complex workplace mental health landscape, understand psychosocial hazards, determine psychological health and safety priorities, and undertake a gap analysis to determine the current baseline early intervention and prevention knowledge and capabilities across various job roles. It is led by one of CommuniCorp’s Principal Consulting Psychologists and is a unique opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills from a recognised subject matter expert in workplace psychological health.

These sessions are hosted free of charge for eligible registrations, and expressions of interest to attend are now open. Full details of these session, and registration, is available here.




To learn more about CommuniCorp Group, and our programs, contact us on:

Email info@communicorpgroup.com | Phone 1300 855 140 | Web www.communicorpgroup.com

Signs of Organisational 'Psychological Ill-Health'

Posted by Jason Aitkens on Tuesday, October 14, 2014.

In the first of a two part series, David Burroughs, Managing Director and Principal Psychologist at CommuniCorp discusses the red flags that indicate organisational Psychological Ill-Health'.

A psychologically safe and healthy workplace is one that not only ensures it meets WHS compliance/legal obligations when it comes to psychological health and safety, but one that has the requisite culture, policies, procedures and people capabilities that enable the overall organisation, its teams and its individual staff members to thrive.

While every organisation wants to sit at the upper end of the Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplace continuum and benefit from all the associated innovation, discretionary effort, robust feedback and overall performance, unfortunately getting to the thriving stage takes a lot more than just a clever values statement, mental health awareness, a lunch and learn happiness session or a quick course of coaching or mindfulness.

In truth, many organisations are still grappling with underlying workplace conditions, systems, capabilities and issues that are limiting their ability to transition to the point of flourishing and thriving. Recent media has been thick with metrics about workplace mental health return on investment, the issues of stigma, mental health disclosure, and the perils and costs of psychological injury, and there is a wealth of information about the types of metrics, tools, diagnostic approaches to quantifying workplace psychological health factors (contact CommuniCorp for more commentary in this area). But for those organisations not wanting to invest time and money in huge organisational psychosocial risk surveys, tools and analyses, what are some of the tell-tale signs that an organisation might be psychologically ‘unhealthy’?

Having consulted across dozens of organisations internationally, David Burroughs from CommuniCorp has provided the following anecdotal signs of workplace psychological ‘ill-health’:


Imposed Values

While it is great when an organisation has well defined and articulated workplace values that people understand, believe in and operate consistently with, the truth is you cannot simply impose a set of values on others and expect unilateral commitment and compliance (or even understanding). Similarly, if there is a disconnect between espoused values and the core beliefs and values that actually exist in work teams and workplaces, or values are not being modelled by the executive and/or people leaders, or aspects of the workplace (such as competitiveness, unaddressed incivility, under resourcing) prohibit workplace values being adhered to, an organisation’s potential to psychologically thrive will be seriously undermined.

Disconnected Executive

To develop a psychologically safe and healthy workplace, executive commitment is crucial, not just in terms of securing funding for program, but more importantly in their authentic and visible support for psychological health based initiatives. Developing a PS&HW takes time, effort and investment, if the Executive is not visibly seen to be involved, or is seen to be disconnected, misaligned, paying lip service to and unless they are not just endorsing but modelling best practice and exemplary behaviour in this area, organisations have a real psychological health problem. It is critical that all executives not just buy in to but understand the business case for workplace psychological health, and not just in terms of the feel good factor, or being a good corporate citizen, or doing the right thing/showing commitment things but just for one landmark day. It needs to consistent and ongoing with visible support and commitment.


Part Two of "Signs of Organisational 'Psychological Ill-Health" will be released in the coming weeks, discussing further indicators of psychological ill-health, including 'Incivility Tolerance' and 'Job Creep'.


FREE "Developing Psychologically Safe & Healthy Workplaces" workshops

MELBOURNE | SYDNEY | BRISBANE | PERTH

CommuniCorp is hosting a series of full day ‘Developing Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces’ Capability Based Training Workshops in October and November 2014 free of charge for eligible senior HR/WHS executives from large (300+ FTE staff) government and commercially focused organisations. To ensure a genuine peer based learning environment, attendance is limited to those directly responsible for developing and implementing practical strategies for workplace psychological health.

This practical evidence-based workshop is designed to help HR/WHS decision makers make sense of the increasingly complex workplace mental health landscape, understand psychosocial hazards, determine psychological health and safety priorities, and undertake a gap analysis to determine the current baseline early intervention and prevention knowledge and capabilities across various job roles. It is led by one of CommuniCorp’s Principal Consulting Psychologists and is a unique opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills from a recognised subject matter expert in workplace psychological health.

These sessions are hosted free of charge for eligible registrations, and expressions of interest to attend are now open. Full details of these session, and registration, is available here.




To learn more about CommuniCorp Group, and our programs, contact us on:

Email info@communicorpgroup.com | Phone 1300 855 140 | Web www.communicorpgroup.com

Work-Related Suicide in FIFO Workplaces

Posted by Jason Aitkens on Thursday, September 18, 2014.

The Work Health & Safety and Human Resources communities, as well as FIFO families and workplaces, are urgently asking “How do we prevent FIFO suicide, what can we do and how do we do it?”

With the recent spate of suicides in the mining industry, questions are being asked about the psychological health and wellbeing of FIFO workplaces.

At least nine FIFO workers have completed suicide in the past year, pointing to the urgent need to review the psychosocial hazards and early intervention and prevention capabilities within the workplace policies and practices of the mining and resources sector.(1)

In response to this spike in suicide within the mining industry, particularly within Western Australia, and in response to concerns raised by the families of mining personnel, a parliamentary inquiry will look at whether or not mining and resource companies are doing enough to prevent suicides.

The West Australian Government, through The Education and Health Standing Committee, will review and report on the mental health of fly-in, fly-out workers; in particular the Committee will inquire into elements including “the contributing factors that may lead to mental illness and suicide amongst FIFO workers”.

WA Mental Health Commissioner Tim Marney said that proven suicide risk factors were prevalent in the FIFO lifestyle.

“Social isolation, family or financial stress and high risk taking behaviour, these are three proven risk factors predominant in an age and gender cohort already predisposed to suicide. Add to that shift work, and it is clinically proven that messes with mental health” said Marney. (1)

In addition to the research being conducted by the WA Government, the NSW Mineral Industry in March released their blueprint outlining the actions that members, mines and health partners may take to improve the mental health and wellbeing of employees within the mining and resource sector.

There is no single solution to address mental health and well-being and mental health issues. It requires a strategic and comprehensive approach to the issue with a range of integrated system, workplace and individually focused strategies.” (2)

With the unique psychosocial hazards and stressors prevalent across the mining and resource sectors it is easy to see why FIFO related mental health concerns warrant further investigation and a systematic workplace specific approach.

David Burroughs, Managing Director of CommuniCorp comments “all too often, and not just in FIFO workplaces, but across corporate Australia, we are seeing the tragic impact of work-related suicide and the ripple effect this has across workplaces, families and communities. While raising awareness is important, equipping people with the requisite skills to intervene in workplace mental health issues and building psychologically safe and healthy workplaces is critical if we are to have a real impact on this issue.”

(1) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-13/wa-mental-health-chief-not-surprised-at-spike-in-fifo-suicides/5668806


SENIOR EXECUTIVE BUSINESS FORUM | PERTH & BRISBANE | OCTOBER 2014

In response to the urgent need to address the psychosocial hazards and critical issues around FIFO suicide within the mining and resource sector, CommuniCorp are hosting a Senior Executive Business forum exploring “Work-Related Suicide, Early Intervention and Prevention Strategies for FIFO Workplaces” in Perth and Brisbane during October.

The purpose of these sessions is to explore some of the more unique factors that play a role in the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers and to investigate ways to offer best practice within suicide prevention.

These sessions are hosted free of charge for eligible registrations, and expressions of interest to attend are now open. Full details of these session, and registration, is available here.




To learn more about CommuniCorp Group, and our programs, contact us on:

Email info@communicorpgroup.com | Phone 1300 855 140 | Web www.communicorpgroup.com

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