One of the key factors affecting psychological health and safety in the workplace is organizational culture. The Standards Council of Canada describes organizational culture as a mix of norms, values, beliefs, meanings, and expectations that group members hold in common and that they use as behavioural and problem-solving cues. Organizational culture could enhance the psychological safety and health of the workplace and the workforce when it is characterized by trust, honesty, respect, civility, and fairness or when it values, for example, psychological and social support, recognition and reward. Improving the psychological safety of a work setting involves taking preventive steps to reduce psychological injury to employees’ health.
A company with a strong organizational culture supports their employees in the following ways:
- All people in the workplace are held accountable for their actions.
Accountability can be ensured through senior management, supervisors, employees and the use of a designated and qualified, Return-to-Work Coordinator. Whether this role is held at the company or by an independent provider, a Return-to-Work Coordinator holds each member of the team accountable with written agreements and ongoing contact. However in order to be effective, each employee needs to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities to themselves, co-workers and the company.
- People at work show sincere respect for others’ ideas, values and beliefs.
Everyone in a workplace should have respect for each others’ ideas and beliefs about illness and wellness. The workplace accommodations one person needs may be significantly different from the next, even when they have the same illness. Managers and co-workers need to respect an individuals’ ability to assess and recover from illness in their own way. It is imperative to ensure employees engagement. Employees engagement is about being included in a decision making process and being a part of a solution. This not only increases the chances of business success, but it also contributes to individual performance, productivity and well-being.
- Difficult situations at work are addressed effectively.
Many employers see an absence from work as a difficult situation. With standardized policies and procedures, absences do not have to be difficult. Developing a Return-to-Work Program with standardized policies and procedures can ensure that everyone is aware of their role and those absences, injuries and disabilities are handled efficiently and effectively.
- Workers feel that they are part of a community at work.
By equipping workers with a strategy to handle absences and returning to work, you are demonstrating that you care about them, their job, and their well-being. Workers will feel valued by your organization which may result in increased loyalty.
- Workers and management trust one another.
It is important for an employee and manager to trust each other throughout the return-to-work process. When both parties trust each others’ motives and intentions, they can move forward in a productive way towards getting the employee back to work. . Successful organizations have strong and authentic values, with clear evidence of trust and fairness based on mutual respect, where two-way promises and commitments – between employers and employees – are understood and fulfilled (Engageforsucess 2017).
In these ways, employers can work towards developing a strong organizational culture, leading to a psychologically healthy workplace. If your organization would like do an initial review of the employees perspective on psychologically health work place I encourage you use a free survey available to any organization through Guarding Minds . Grading Minds is a unique, evidence-based, comprehensive set of resources designed to effectively assess and address psychological health and safety in the workplace. You can find the survey at www.guardingmindsatwork.ca or you can contact our office at info@diversifiedrehab .ca
Our next article will look more in-depth at developing a psychologically healthy and safe workplace and how return-to-work plays an important role.
Register for our February 23rd webinar where we will be joined by Dr. Merv Gilbert from Psych Health & Safety Consulting here: https://business-hangouts.com/register.php?m=NTU4OTl8MTIzNjQx