Ready to make positive workplace mental health part of your organization’s culture? These steps will help make your employee plan successful and sustainable.
- Define a business case to help support the investment.
There is a financial upside to having a strategy in place. To get started building your plan, we recommend checking out Assembling the Pieces – An implementation guide to the national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace. It’s a reliable resource and free download that offers a simple, scalable framework to build your strategy and strengthen buy-in and commitment.
- Get backing from your leaders.
Your approach depends on the size of your organization and your role within it. For example, if you’re the owner or head of your company or organization, commitment means making sure you’re ready to support the mental health of your employees. If you’re in a larger organization and in HR, you’ll need to get senior leadership buy-in to ensure this is a focus for your organization.
You may want to consider formalizing a policy and your organization’s commitment towards mental health in the workplace. If so, decide as a leadership team how you believe this should look and what you’ll support and reinforce.
- Communicate effectively to build awareness and maximize engagement.
Make sure your leaders and employees understand the organization’s policy and commitment towards mental health in the workplace. To spread the word effectively, look for multiple channels for your message; for example, meetings, company townhalls, newsletters, email, etc. Depending on the size of your organization, communication may be through every-day conversations or informal meetings. Larger organizations may need more formal plans to ensure all employees get consistent messages.
- Identify your workplace’s strengths and risks.
Get a feel for your organization’s current state by taking the opportunity to have your employees share how they feel about workplace mental health. Start out by having informal conversations with them to understand what your organization is doing well, and then look to more formal surveys and analysis of company data. For example, review reports such as:
- absenteeism, short- and long-term disability claim
- employee surveys such as perception surveys, employee engagement surveys
- data about the nature of health benefit claims and EAP usage
- health and safety committee reports, minutes and/or recommendations
- wellness committee reports, minutes and/or recommendations
- worker concerns and complaints
- turnover rates
- exit interviews
- incident investigations (if root causes were researched deeply enough)
- Define your mental health strategy and goals.
Putting your strategy and goals into words can help point you in the right direction. Our goals focus on workplace mental health specifically, because we believe this is where you can make the biggest impact as an employer.
Use the results of your assessment to develop SMART goals and outline the strategies that will help deliver on them. You may be able to identify some quick wins and more long-term strategic approaches. We suggest viewing the model outlined by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
- Identify how you’ll measure your success and establish targets to track progress.
If you have a small organization, this might mean simple check-ins on a regular basis with your employees. Larger organizations would need more extensive measurement and benchmark setting. For example, you might measure disability claim reductions, turnover rate decreases, and increasing employee satisfaction through annual surveys.
- Start to create a mentally safe workplace.
Get the conversation started, educate staff and make psychological health and safety part of your culture, programs, policies, and procedures. Look for helpful tools and resources from the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). You could also consider offering the free Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Mental Health Training program to employees and leaders.
- Monitor your program’s performance and keep everyone focused.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. It’s important to define what you’ll measure and how with the tools, resources and data that are available to you. Most carriers have an extensive dashboard that shows data about an organization’s mental health.
Mental health belongs in every workplace
No matter the size of your organization, you can easily scale this eight-step approach to create your own workplace mental health strategy. Use the activities that work best for your group within each step based on your size, culture and resource availability.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at 778.477.6700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.