Psychological Safety – Preparing your Workplace (Part 5)
Laying the Groundwork & Recommended Resources
As mentioned previously, the National Standard is a voluntary set of guidelines that offers direction to employers wanting to improve their work environment.
How to lay the groundwork
Before jumping in, an organization may first need to lay down a little groundwork to set themselves up for success. Commitment, Leadership and Effective Participation are crucial to the success of the Standard. So too is Effective Communication to the whole organization about the steps being taken.
1. Commitment – Create a policy statement (approved by senior management and the Board of Directors) or incorporate one into existing policies that outlines the organization’s commitment to managing psychological health and safety in the workplace.
Base the statement on a number of organizational commitments, including:
- The ethics and values of the organization
- Ensuring workers and worker representatives participate in the development, implementation and continual improvement of the system
- Evaluating and reviewing the system at planned intervals for the purpose of continual improvement
For more details, see Section 4.2.2 of the Standard.
2. Leadership – Those who have key responsibility for the organization’s performance have a large role to play in supporting and reinforcing the implementation of the Standard and shall, among other things:
- Reinforce the development and sustainability of a psychologically healthy and safe workplace environment based on a foundation of ethics and stated values
- Establish key objectives toward continual improvement of the Standards
- Lead and influence organizational culture in a positive way
For more details see Section 4.2.3 of the Standard
3. Participation – Active, meaningful and effective participation of stakeholders is a key factor in psychological health. To ensure participation the organization shall, among other things:
- Engage stakeholders in active, regular dialogue that will help them understand their needs and goals with regards to psychological health and safety in the workplace
- Engage workers in policy development, data gathering, and the planning process to better understand their needs
- Encourage workers to participate in programs designed to meet their needs
For more details see Sections 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 of the Standard.
As well, we recommend employers consult the Standard for best practices on the following:
- Data collection
- Objectives and targets
- Managing change
- Evaluation and corrective action
- Management review and continual improvement
All the annexes can be found within the Standard document
- Annex B is a great resource for detailed advice about how to build the right framework for organizations of all sizes
- The Mental Health Commission of Canada website takes users through the business case for creating a mentally healthy workplace, and includes implementation tools, information and strategies
- Annex D (pages 35 to 38) offers detailed, step-by-step implementation scenarios
- Annex E (pages 39 to 52) contains a useful table to help you conduct your own audit process – use it as a “gap analysis” to help highlight areas that require further work to meet the requirements of this Standard
- Annex F (pages 53 to 60) contains seven major trends in law referring to workplace mental health, to help provide a business case for a psychologically safe workplace
How can human resources help create a psychologically safe workplace?
One of the keys to successfully implementing the Standard’s recommendations is having a team that will initiate it, drive it, monitor it and measure it. Human Resources, whether in-house or outsourced, is ideally placed to be part of this team.
If you have an in-house human resources team in place, we strongly encourage you to forward these emails to them to start the process. Alternatively, reach out to Jouta and we will guide you through the process and provide all the support you need to ensure long-term success.
Start creating a psychologically safe workplace now.
Contact us at 604 488 8885 or at email@example.com.