none

ARE YOU OKAY IN YOUR WORKPLACE?

17-05-2019
by 
in 

Two years after a world-first study into workplace psychological safety, defined as “a team climate characterised by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves”, results from a survey by suicide prevention charity R U OK? show businesses can be doing more to ensure colleagues feel connected.

The 2019 Australian Workplace Psychological Safety Survey surveyed 1093 Australian employees and found that just under a quarter do not currently do any activities to connect them with colleagues. One of the biggest barriers was not having time due to workloads.

This is concerning, considering the research of leading suicidologist Thomas Joiner, which finds a lack of connection or belonging as one of the three major forces contributing to someone’s risk of suicide.

Workplace mental wellness expert and R U OK? board member Graeme Cowan is calling on businesses to address this, pointing to both the social and economic benefits to organisations when its people feel connected and psychologically safe.

“A ‘psychologically safe’ workplace is characterised by a climate of interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people feel comfortable being themselves and to ask for help,” he says.

“Organisational workload will always be a barrier; however those who create opportunities for employee connection such as morning teas or celebrations for birthdays foster a positive culture.

“While there are benefits to individuals and a duty of care from organisations, psychologically safe teams have also been shown to be the most innovative – and in a worrying development, only 28% of respondents said they felt safe to take a risk in 2019 compared to 34% in 2017.

“Today’s results demonstrate more needs to be done to educate organisations on these benefits, to ensure all Australians are seeing the rewards of psychologically safe workplaces.”

These results were announced at R U OK?’s annual conversational leadership event in Melbourne on 16th May, which brought together 100 managers for a practical workshop on building an R U OK? culture in the workplace.

In addition to interactive demonstrations and take away resources, the event featured case studies from Woolworths, Connor Menswear and Sydney Trains, diverse organisations which have successfully applied this cultural change.

“As Australia’s largest employer, the mental health of our team members is our number one safety, health and wellbeing priority,” said Kevin Figueiredo, General Manager of Safety, Health and Wellbeing for Woolworths Group.

“In the past 12 months we have introduced new mental health programs and trained 16,000 team members across the Group with the skills and knowledge to help peers showing signs of mental health issues.

“We recognise mental health is not just an issue for our teams but also friends and families, and we are committed to continuing to support innovative programs like R U OK? to keep these important conversations going.”

The survey was the result of a collaboration between R U OK? and Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School and originator of the concept of psychological safety.

R U OK? produces targeted workplace resources to support all businesses to get the conversation flowing. These resources are free, open source and available to download

Related news & editorials

  1. 20.06.2019
    20.06.2019
    by      In
    Asbestos remains one of the most deadly threats in the Australian workplace more than 15 years since its use and importation were banned. And the Government’s Asbestos Safety & Eradication Agency is concerned that there is a misconception that certain forms of asbestos are safer than others.... Read More
  2. 18.06.2019
    18.06.2019
    by      In
    Target Tradies is a unique Australian company focused on delivering specific messaging to tradies on the job. As part of its powerful site visitation and corporate social responsibility program, it has provided pro bono production, installation and media space for Cancer Council and Black Dog... Read More
  3. 11.06.2019
    11.06.2019
    by      In
    Despite the industry’s overwhelming perception that it is harder to run a successful show in Sydney than in Melbourne, the 2019 Workplace Health & Safety Show was judged an overwhelming success.
    Not only was the show at Sydney’s impressive International Convention Centre bigger in terms of... Read More
  4. 06.06.2019
    06.06.2019
    by      In
    The challenge of cleaning up pollution by toxic polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), commonly used in non-stick and protective coatings, lubricants and fire-fighting foams, could be solved by the discovery of a new low-cost, safe and environmentally friendly method that removes PFAS from water... Read More