SUMMARY: For Implementation (Annex B.4.4), the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace states, “The key to successful and sustainable implementation of this Standard is the involvement of those affected by the changes. Engagement of workers in the development and planning stages must be carried over into the implementation stage to ensure that the changes are communicated effectively and that the process of implementation does not cause undue stress or harm. If done well, the process of implementation can enhance psychological health and safety by increasing a sense of belonging, building positive relationships, and securing commitment to the system.” (See also clause 4.4.)

Beginning a dialogue in the workplace about psychological health and safety can be one of the first steps of implementation. For ongoing sustainability, embed psychological health and safety into your organization's policies, processes, and decision-making.

Begin a workplace dialogue

  • Raise awareness of how each employee can contribute to positive change by talking about psychological health and safety in the workplace.
  • Keep employee discussions focused on workplace practices and processes that are part of their day-to-day experience in the workplace, not on individual health issues.
  • Understand that you don't need to be an expert in the field of mental health to discuss and develop psychologically healthy and safe workplace solutions.
  • Consider the importance of communication and facilitation skills for leading discussions. Facilitating team discussions can help support competence in these areas.

Embed into policies and processes

  • Whenever policies or processes are reviewed, ensure they reflect the organization's commitment to a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.
  • Add the question, "How might this impact psychological health and safety?" to all business discussions about new or revised policies, strategies, procedures, programs and interactions.
  • Develop guiding principles that can be applied to all future decisions and discussions. The attached example has been provided with permission from the Canadian Healthcare Association: Psychological health and safety in Canadian healthcare settings [PDF]
  • See Policy recommendations for specific examples of how to embed policies throughout the organization's departments and the employment lifecycle (for example, recruiting, hiring, orientation, performance management, return to work, termination and more).

Use free resources and ideas

The Standard has identified organizational factors known to impact the psychological health and safety of employees.

You can use the free slide presentation, video and facilitator's guide found in On the agenda to discuss any of these factors and develop an action plan with your team.

Each factor is briefly described below and is followed by practical ideas and free resources.

Balance – A work environment where there is recognition of the need for employees to be able to manage the demands of work, family and personal life.

Ideas

  • Require and support all leaders to model balance in the workplace.
  • Build health promotion and wellness activities into daily work routines.
  • Provide flexible work arrangements when possible.
  • Require leaders, managers and employees to take vacation time – and not work while on vacation. Be aware of times of unusual stress for employees. These may include caregiving, grief, illness and others.

Free resources

Civility and respect – A work environment where employees are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with customers, clients and the public.

Ideas

  • Engage teams to develop a code of conduct specific to their working environment.
  • Develop processes to address disrespectful behaviour promptly and effectively.
  • Provide training and resources to support constructive problem solving.

Free resources

Clear leadership and expectations – A work environment where there is effective leadership and support so that employees know what they need to do, have confidence in their leaders and understand impending changes.

Ideas

  • Include emotional intelligence in professional development for all leaders.
  • Measure emotional intelligence as a required competency for all leaders.
  • Support managers in having direct and timely face-to-face communication with employees.
  • Help employees understand how their work contributes to organizational goals.

Free resources

Engagement – A work environment where employees feel connected to their work, co-workers and their organization and are motivated to do their job well.

Ideas

  • Enquire about employee talents and strengths not clear in assigned job duties.
  • Where possible, increase opportunities for employees to apply strengths on the job.
  • Provide space for employees to gather.
  • Build regular acknowledgement of employees and teams into staff events.
  • Ask employees if and how they want to engage in activities. These include social gatherings, charitable events and others.

Free resources

Growth and development – A work environment where employees receive encouragement and support in the development of their interpersonal, emotional and job skills.

Ideas

  • Ask employees what areas of professional development they are interested in exploring.
  • Provide opportunities for personal growth and development.
  • Consider providing growth opportunities, like:
    • Job shadowing
    • Mentoring
    • Job sharing
  • Develop a sharing library or intranet site with personal growth and communication tips and techniques.

Free resources

Involvement and influence – A work environment where employees are included in discussions about how their work is done and have input into decisions that impact their job.

Ideas

  • Teach leaders about micro-managing and ways to avoid doing it.
  • Create mechanisms for continual feedback about processes and functioning.
  • Educate and support managers to have regular talks with employees about how they do their work and whether processes can be improved.

Free resources

  • Developing a workplace plan – Engage employees in developing a plan that supports their success on the job.
  • Union support – Collaborate with union reps to support the employee throughout and after
  • Productivity review – Use this form to help resolve performance issues while considering mental health
  • Supporting employee success – Use this tool to develop a workplace plan that takes mental health into account. The plan focuses on psychological and cognitive job expectations.
  • Dementia response – Ask questions in the section Being prepared and offering accommodation

Organizational culture – A work environment characterized by the shared values of trust, honesty and fairness.

Ideas

  • Engage employees in developing or updating an organizational values statement and code of ethics.
  • Provide effective communication skills training for everyone.
  • Provide necessary training and resources to resolve conflict effectively.

Free Resources

Protection of physical safety – A work environment where management takes appropriate action to address physical hazards in order to protect the psychological health and safety of workers.

Ideas

  • Establish a system of continual improvement for physical health and safety.
  • Communicate to employees that their safety is an organizational priority.
  • Educate and train employees on physical safety.

Free resources

Psychological and social support – A work environment where the organization is supportive of employees' psychological health concerns and provides assistance as needed.

Ideas

  • Provide education to reduce stigma related to mental illness.
  • Provide information, resources and training to improve awareness of how we can manage our own mental health.
  • Train union and management to respond effectively to workplace issues while taking mental health into account.
  • Provide a list of resources within the organization and community for addressing mental health related concerns.
  • Audit and improve accommodation and return to work processes for clarity, inclusion and effectiveness.

Free resources

Psychological competencies and demands – A work environment where there is good fit between employees’ interpersonal and emotional competencies, their job skills and the position they hold.

Ideas

  • Add relevant interpersonal and emotional competencies to recruitment and hiring criteria.
  • Educate and train employees about interpersonal and emotional competencies.
  • Include interpersonal and emotional competencies in job descriptions and performance reviews.

Free resources

Psychological Protection – A work environment where employees’ psychological safety is ensured.

Ideas

  • State the organization's commitment to psychological safety in:
    • Strategic plans
    • Public statements
    • The organization's mission, vision and values statements
  • Provide training and develop processes to address:
    • Harassment
    • Discrimination
    • Bullying
    • Violence
    • Conflict resolution
  • Conduct regular risk assessments for psychological hazards.

Free resources

Recognition & Reward – A work environment where there is appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of employees’ efforts in a fair and timely manner.

Ideas

  • Build recognition of effort and outcomes into performance reviews.
  • Provide training for managers on the use of constructive feedback.
  • Develop ways to fairly acknowledge team efforts with group events or non-monetary incentives.
  • Develop ways to fairly celebrate personal and professional milestones.
  • Assess employee perspectives about fair recognition and reward.
  • Educate leaders about motivation and consider if your workplace processes support what you want from your employees.

Free resources

  • Daniel Pink discusses interesting research about motivation – View his TED Talk  on this subject.

Specific areas of concern – There are resources that cover serious issues such as bullying, harassment and discrimination. Bring together decision makers and those who develop policy to consider ways to address these issues more effectively.

Free resources

Workload Management – A work environment where assigned tasks and responsibilities can be accomplished successfully within the time available.

Ideas

  • Provide education to employees and managers about resilience, time management, stress management and burnout prevention.
  • Establish methods that support and encourage success rather than apply pressure to avoid failure.
  • Inform and prepare staff for anticipated increases in workloads.
  • Involve staff in developing strategies to manage workload effectively.

Free resources

Implementation handbook

Assembling the pieces – an implementation guide to the national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace is available as a free download. The guide, created by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in partnership with the CSA Group and with the support of Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, is one approach to implementation of the National Standard.

Geared to senior leaders, human resource managers and occupational health and safety professionals, it offers a roadmap to implementation of the Standard through four key steps:

  • Building the foundation
  • Identifying opportunities
  • Setting objectives
  • Implementation

Guidebook Icon
From Assembling the Pieces with permission of CSA Group.

 

Guidebook Icon
From Assembling the Pieces with permission of CSA Group.

 

Guidebook Icon
From Assembling the Pieces with permission of CSA Group.

 

Guidebook Icon
From Assembling the Pieces with permission of CSA Group.