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 do not 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 Elements & Priorities for Working Toward a Psychologically Safer Workplace for specific examples of how to embed policies throughout the organization's departments and the employment lifecycle (e.g. recruiting, hiring, orientation, performance management, return to work, termination, etc.).

Leverage free resources and ideas

The Standard has identified organizational factors that are 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.

Psychological Support considers the support for employee psychological wellbeing and the ability within an organization to respond effectively to mental health concerns.

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

Organizational Culture considers the level of trust, honesty, and fairness in a workplace.

Ideas

  • Ensure meaningful participation of employees in the development or updating of 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

Clear Leadership & Expectations considers effective leadership and communication to help employees know what they need to do, how success will be measured, how their work contributes to the organization, and whether there are 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

Civility & Respect considers how people communicate with each other and whether interactions are respectful and considerate.

Ideas

  • Engage teams to develop a code of conduct that is 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

Psychological Competencies & Requirements considers supporting a good fit between employee interpersonal and emotional competencies and the requirements of the position.

Ideas

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

Free resources

Growth & Development considers encouragement and support for the development of interpersonal, emotional and job skills of employees.

Ideas

  • Ask employees what areas of professional development they are interested in exploring.
  • Provide opportunities for personal growth and development.
  • Consider opportunities for job shadowing, mentoring or job sharing to provide opportunities for growth.
  • Develop a sharing library or intranet site with items related to personal growth and communication techniques

Free resources

Recognition & Reward considers appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of employee efforts in a fair and timely manner.

Ideas

  • Build recognition of effort as well as 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 – This is a link to his TED Talk  on this subject.

Involvement & Influence considers whether employees are involved in discussions about how their work is done and the level of influence they may have on decisions that will affect them directly.

Ideas

  • Educate 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 discussions with employees about how work is done and whether processes can be improved.

Free resources

  • Developing a Workplace Plan – Engaging employees in developing a plan that supports their success on the job.
  • Union Support – By collaborating with union reps in accommodation, the employee can be supported throughout the process and afterward.
  • Productivity Review – This form can help you resolve performance issues in a way that takes mental health into account.
  • Supporting Employee Success – A tool to develop a workplace plan taking mental health into account. Focuses on psychological and cognitive job expectations.
  • Dementia Response – Questions to ask are in the section Being prepared and offering accommodation.

Workload Management considers whether 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 of supporting and encouraging success rather than applying pressure to avoid failure.
  • Inform and prepare staff for anticipated increases in workloads.
  • Involve staff in developing strategies to manage workload effectively.

Free resources

Engagement considers whether or not employees feel connected to their work and are motivated to do their job well.

Ideas

  • Enquire about employee talents and strengths not apparent 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 be engaged in activities (e.g. social events, charitable events, etc.).

Free resources

  • Developing a Workplace Plan – Strategies for engaging employees in their own workplace plan. 
  • Healthy Break Activities – Engage teams in using break times to take part in activities that help promote the health of mind and body.
  • Team Building – Help build resilience among team members.
  • Via Strengths Profile – Use this free online tool for all employees to be able to identify their strengths. When complete, use the activity in Team Building to discuss how strengths can be used at work.

Balance considers how an organization recognizes and supports the need for balance between 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, e.g. caregiving, grief, illness, etc.

Free resources

Psychological Protection considers processes that help ensure psychological safety. Employees are supported to ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes and problems or propose a new idea without fearing negative consequences.

Ideas

  • State the organization's commitment to psychological safety in strategic plans, public statements, and in the organization's mission, vision and values statements.
  • Provide training and develop processes to address harassment, discrimination, bullying, violence and conflict resolution.
  • Conduct regular risk assessments for psychological hazards.

Free resources

Protection of Physical Safety considers appropriate action to help protect the physical safety of employees.

Ideas

  • Establish a system of continual improvement regarding physical health and safety.
  • Communicate to employees that their safety is a priority of the organization.
  • Educate and train employees on physical safety.

Free resources

Other chronic stressors as identified by employees considers the stressors that may be unique to certain sectors or job roles. (Note: The link to the description of Other Chronic Stressors is provided courtesy of the University of Waterloo.)

Ideas

  • Regularly seek feedback from employees on chronic stressors in the workplace.

Free resources

  • Relevant research from various sectors can help you think about some of the unique issues that may result in a chronic stressor.

The Standard describes a worker as "a person employed by an organization or a person under the day-to-day control of the organization, whether paid or unpaid, which includes employees, supervisors, managers, leaders, contractors, service providers, volunteers, students, or other stakeholders actively engaged in undertaking activities for benefit to the organization. French: travailleur, travailleuse. [Reference: CAN/CSA-Z1000 (adapted wording) (see Annex G).]" The term "employee" has been used throughout these resources and is intended to include the Standard’s definition of worker.

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 the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, is one approach to implementation of the National Standard.

It is geared toward senior leaders, human resource managers, and occupational health and safety professionals, offering a roadmap to implementation of the Standard through four key steps: building the foundation, identifying opportunities, setting objectives, and implementation.

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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.