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’:
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone 1300 855 140 | Web www.communicorpgroup.com