Psychosocial risk management is relatively new in most industries, and not all organisations have the in-house capability to successfully identify risks.
The impacts of mental illness and ill-health in the workplace have never been higher or more visible. Despite this, many organisations continue to struggle with the effective management of psychosocial risks. These risks, which cover the combined influence that psychological factors and the surrounding social environment have on people’s physical and mental wellbeing, directly relate to our ability to function.
We see an ongoing reliance on the reactive management of mental health ‘cases’ as they arise, or initiatives to help employees ‘cope’ better. These alone are not enough. A new approach is needed. The value of supportive leadership in responding to mental health issues is well documented, and is critical.
This paper, however, focuses on the need to apply evidence-based, proactive risk management approaches to psychosocial risks that will minimise harm to workers, and enhance organisational performance through improved productivity and innovation.
How effectively are psychosocial risks being managed?
Does your organisation provide EAP services, train employees to build resilience, and offer gym membership discounts? That is no longer enough, particularly when implemented in isolation.
So, how can you proactively manage risk in a way which is meaningful for your people, and benefit your organisation? The following, developed in consultation with the workforce (and supported by effective leadership practices), is critical:
- Mental health strategy
- Psychosocial risk assessment
- Tailored controls
- Assurance program, targeted to assess psychosocial risk control effectiveness
- Corrective action and improvement plan.
Only through these activities can you successfully manage psychosocial risks on an ongoing basis. In doing so, you will improve overall organisational performance through a healthier, more productive, and innovative workforce.