For wellbeing strategies to be successful, they need to be supported by boards and executives. While gaining support to better understand work-related psychosocial risks (and protective factors) can be relatively straightforward, the key challenges are to:
- Help directors and executives understand – and discharge – their due diligence duty (s44 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015) to ensure organisations prevent mental harm in the workplace.
- Persuade directors and executives to commit to the design of mentally-healthy work.
With regard to the first challenge, the questions an officer should ask to assure themselves – and others – they are doing what’s expected of a reasonable officer are:
- Do I have adequate, up-to-date knowledge of issues related to mental wellbeing at work?
- Do I understand the critical psychosocial risks (and protective factors) in my organisation’s operations?
- Do I ensure my organisation has, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise these psychosocial risks (and promote protective factors)?
- Do I ensure my organisation has appropriate processes to receive, consider, and respond to information about work-related psychosocial issues?
- Do I ensure my organisation has, and implements, processes to comply with its obligation to prevent mental harm?
- Do I verify the provision and use of these resources and processes?
With regard to the second challenge, committing to the design of mentally-healthy work means:
- Being proactive to protect workers from mental harm.
- Involving workers in the (re)design and implementation of mentally-healthy work (i.e., to eliminate or minimise harmful work factors and maintain or strengthen protective work factors).
And keep in mind that the obligation to prevent mental harm not only sets the stage for improved health and safety performance but also creates many other organisational opportunities (e.g., improved work practices, more meaningful worker engagement, a stronger organisational culture, enhanced reputation, etc.).
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about bringing the board and executive on the wellbeing journey.