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Workplace Change Ahead

By Tasha Broomhall

In our busy connected world we can become transactional.

We send messages, tick; we attend a course, tick; we read a book and are now an expert, tick; we spend time with our family (all connected to various devices), tick. We ‘do’ a lot, but to what benefit and at what cost?

We are more connected than ever with technology, social media and 24-hour news cycles.

However, relationships can’t be done. Can’t be ticked off a list. They are about collections of shared values, shared experiences and shared emotions. Skills also cannot just be ‘done’. We learn skills and then need to practice and integrate them into our behaviours to make lasting change.

From a workplace perspective, a transactional approach to training can be both a waste of money and even damaging in the long term. When budgets are tight, one of the early sacrifices is often the training budget. Training is sometimes seen as a nice to have, rather than a need. Part of the problem is that training is often transactional. People go into a training room, they learn skills, they go back to work and are expected to adopt the new skills often in isolation, and retention is mired by the busyness of their role and other distractions.

Some workplace mental health programs are simply transactional. Put up a poster for RUOK day; put on a morning tea for mental health week; provide a ’lunch and learn’ that raises awareness of mental health issues. These may all be elements of a robust program, however, in isolation short transactional approaches can feel like we’re simply paying lip service to an issue; being politically correct or applying a Band-Aid approach. If organisations truly want to transform to positive cultures of mental health and wellbeing, they need a more comprehensive strategy.

So how do we create training opportunities that are truly transformational?

Workplace mental health training is often transactional… we tell employees that mental health issues are common and can affect anybody. We focus on statistics and facts. But a transformational training experience provides content whilst actually building positive relationships. It helps people to connect positively, to see similarities rather than differences and helps them to understand the human experience of mental health issues, how to better support themselves and how to better support others. It provides tools and strategies that are relayed through stories and experiential learning in a way that people’s attitudes are challenged and shifted and new behaviours become possible.

The human and economic costs of mental health problems in your workplace can be staggering with increased absenteeism, presenteeism, stress claims and turnover.

Responding to the mental health of employees makes financial sense as well as being the right thing to do. A mentally healthy workforce optimises your best asset – your people.

A behavioural integration approach to mental health training that can transform organisational culture. 

Awareness Raising

Raising Assessing and developing your organisations mental health literacy. These are primary level interventions that ensure that your policies, procedures and systems enhance the mental wellbeing of your staff and to ensure that mental health issues are recognised and responded to appropriately, balancing the individuals needs with the business’s needs.

Skill Building

Building personal buoyancy, team values development and the capacity of people leaders to recognise and appropriately respond to mental health issues in the workplace. These primary and secondary level interventions focus on professional and personal skill development to ensure that all people leaders have the skills to recognise and appropriately respond to mental health issues in the workplace and to encourage all employees to develop their individual buoyancy and proactively manage their own mental wellbeing.

Behavioural Integration

Integrating the increased mental health literacy into the culture of your workplace so it becomes “how we do things around here”. This includes tertiary level interventions designed to develop a culture of peer support and positive engagement to ensure that if and where issues do arise, your employees are able to appropriately support each other and engage with your EAP provider or with community resources.

Article from Blooming Minds April eMag

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