Workplace Mental Health:
Over the past couple of years, there
has been a long overdue spotlight
shone on the issue of workplace
Led by organizations like Bell Canada
and its “Let’s Talk” campaign and the
Great West Life Centre for Mental Health
in the Workplace, the push has helped educate
employers about an issue that costs
Canadian businesses $20 billion a year in
workplace losses for things like absenteeism,
presenteeism and LTD costs.
So as more organizations understand
the issue and their obligations to provide
and maintain a mentally healthy workplace,
what is HR’s role?
I don’t think HR should necessarily be taking
the lead on workplace mental health.
Rather, it should be a collective leadership
responsibility to ensure there is a sound
culture in the organization that supports
a healthy workplace at all levels: physical,
mental and spiritual.
Ultimate responsibility for workplace
mental health must come from the top
leadership. Leaders need to model respectful
behaviours and show that the
organization will not tolerate things like
bullying, gossip or harassment.
In a mentally healthy workplace, there
is no such thing as yelling or screaming.
Colleagues have constructive
conversations that never get personal.
When there are questions, individuals ask
If someone is struggling because they’re
not well, a healthy workplace culture is
one where an individual feels comfortable
reaching out to their manager or OHS or
HR manager to discuss the issue and request
assistance to rebalance and get well.
Another part of a healthy culture is ensuring
you’re not setting your people up
for failure. Things like asking them to do
excessive overtime or work through their
shifts without breaks or promoting them
to a manager role without the training to
do it effectively can all lead to stress and
anxiety for the employee.
By Brenda Clark, CHRE
AT ITS MOST BASIC, A POSITIVE ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
IS ONE THAT VALUES AND PROMOTES TRUST, HONESTY
AND FAIRNESS FOR ALL WORK INTERACTIONS.
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ JULY/AUGUST 2015 ❚ 7