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.
Transactional approach to training
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.
Workplace Change Ahead
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.
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Article from Blooming Minds April eMag
Image credit: Javier Allegue Barros (Unsplash)