‘If you want a high-performing workplace and culture, psychosocial factors should be on your agenda,’ says expert speaking at upcoming HRD Wellbeing Summit Australia

Addressing psychosocial hazards: Don't do it just to avoid liabilities

BY Dexter Tilo

08 May 2024

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Addressing psychosocial hazards in the workplace shouldn’t be just about mitigating legal and financial liabilities, which is a growing misconception as more legislations addressing these hazards emerge across Australia.

Tom Nehmy, Director and Principal Psychologist, Healthy Minds, underscored that psychosocial functioning in a workplace is within the domain of wellbeing, and there is a clear link between wellbeing and work performance.

“If you want a high-performing workplace and work culture, psychosocial factors of all kinds should be on your agenda anyway,” Nehmy told HRD.

He made the remarks amid growing legislation across Australia that obligates employers to mitigate psychosocial hazards at work. These hazards, according to Nehmy, are common risks for harm that are predominantly non-physical in nature.

“For years, workplaces have been aware of the need to reduce and eliminate particular physical hazards, but now we are focusing – quite rightly – on those that are psychosocial in nature,” Nehmy said.

Addressing psychosocial hazards

Legislations have identified psychosocial hazards as stress, fatigue, bullying, violence, aggression, harassment, and burnout, among others.

According to Nehmy, organisations who don’t take reasonable steps to mitigate these risks will perform less well than those who do.

“They will find it harder to defend compensation claims that arise from those hazards and are likely to have a higher number of claims,” he warned.

“So, it affects the bottom line of organisations, but also the culture in which workers are immersed, and the functional outcomes of their day-to-day work. One example of the consequences of poor psychosocial risk management is staff who are frequently burnt out or disengaged.”

But addressing these psychosocial risks shouldn’t be a “reactive process” either, where a response only happens once a risk is elevated.

“My passion is preventive psychology, and we teach that when prevention is done well it is a quiet achievement, because you aren’t putting out a fire with all the associated drama and urgency, you’re stopping the fire from occurring in the first place,” he said.

‘Good psychosocial leadership’

Good leaders have a “natural affinity” for considering and acting on psychosocial hazards at work, according to Nehmy.

“Good leadership is good psychological leadership. It has profound psychological implications, for example, how people feel about work and how they feel while at work; and interpersonal processes are the means by which leaders influence others,” he said.

“Building psychological safety is a way leaders can foster an open culture where employees feel safe to discuss these hazards, without fear of reprisal.”

HRD Wellbeing Summit Australia

Nehmy will be joining the upcoming HRD Wellbeing Summit Australia, where he is expected to discuss further about comprehensive solutions for workplaces on psychosocial hazards.

“I can’t wait to speak on this because it is the single most impactful topic in the corporate world today,” he told HRD. “I’m looking forward to introducing real solutions to attendees that will solve their specific pain points. I’m confident they will leave with a well-informed plan of action!”

Nehmy also teased that they will unveil at the summit the contribution of AI on psychosocial hazard management at work.

According to Nehmy, it’s “incredible” how AI can get a “good read” on psychosocial hazards through predictive analysis and employee sentiment markers.

“AI is amazing,” he said. “One of the AI developments we’ll be presenting at the summit will blow people away in terms of its brevity and sophistication.”

“We’ll also explore the psychological science behind training leaders in psychosocial hazards in a way that most efficiently leads to mastery.”

The HRD Wellbeing Summit Australia will take place on May 22 at The Fullerton Hotel Sydney.

This article has been repurposed from: https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/employment-law/addressing-psychosocial-hazards-dont-do-it-just-to-avoid-liabilities/488248

Healthy Minds is excited to bring you a new product we are launching to help our clients respond to the recent legislation change relating to Psychosocial Hazards (PSH).

Recent studies and guidelines, including those from Safe Work Australia, emphasise the critical need for Australian organisations to proactively identify and mitigate psychosocial risks. The cost of inaction is not just financial and legal but impacts many drivers of business performance – from employee engagement and productivity to retention and organisational reputation.

Our Solution

Healthy Minds has developed a comprehensive program designed specifically to help your organisation understand where your psychosocial risks lie and, crucially, how to address them. Our program provides 5 options to choose from. Select one, some, or all, to suit your needs.

  1. Introduction: A quick start (20min) video detailing what leaders need to know about PSH in the workplace.
  2. Assessment: Identifying your organisation’s unique PSH with comprehensive reporting.
  3. Upskilling Leaders: Equipping your leaders with the skills and knowledge to effectively manage and mitigate these risks via an award-winning microlearning platform with content developed by Healthy Minds psychologists.
  4. Policy integration: Ensuring policies & procedures are compliant with the new legislation.
  5. Sustaining learnings & Creating a Resilient Culture: Customised training to foster an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and able to thrive.

For more details, you can access our brochure by clicking on this link.

Why Act Now? With the increasing legal, social, and economic pressures to create safe workplaces, there has never been a more critical time to act. By addressing psychosocial risks head-on, you’re not only complying with legal obligations but also setting your organisation apart as a leader in workplace wellbeing.

To book a Zoom meeting with Nick Lee, please click HERE.

Dr Tom Nehmy joined Con Koutsikas and discussed:

Listen to the episode


Check out our annual gift to Healthy Minds clients – the ‘Holidaying with a Healthy Mind’ podcast.

This year’s podcast includes Dr Tom Nehmy covering:

Listen below (MP3):

Please enjoy this podcast and from all of us at Healthy Minds have a healthy, happy and safe Christmas.

Best wishes,

Tom, Nick & the Healthy Minds Team.

Understanding and fixing them can transform your business.

Blind Spot #1: Wellbeing is considered separate from work performance.

When your people are well, they will be high functioning.

This includes psychological skills, bodily health (sleep, diet, exercise), relationships, purpose, and balance.

When these wellbeing factors are enhanced, your people will be more motivated, energetic, engaged, and productive. And they will be more willing to take on challenges.

If you want to improve staff performance, start by improving their wellbeing.

Blind Spot #2: The CEO is not involved in the wellbeing strategy.

Because you cannot separate wellbeing and work performance, CEOs and leaders must necessarily be interested in the wellbeing strategy of the organisation.

Corporate wellbeing is a key driver of the bottom-line, and even share market performance.

If your CEO is not yet involved in the wellbeing strategy, it’s time to start a conversation about why it matters.

Blind Spot #3: Interventions are focused on remediating problems rather than prevention or wellbeing enhancement.

When your house is on fire, it’s urgent. It mobilises resources, and everyone celebrates when the crisis is over.

But if you stop someone’s house catching fire in the first place, you’ve achieved something much better. But there’s less urgency in being proactive, and no well-defined point of celebration.

Prevention isn’t sexy, but it is very important. There’s a lot workplaces can do to prevent anxiety, depression and chronic stress in their staff.

Blind Spot #4: Leaders who lack psychological skills are ill-equipped to support their teams.

If you don’t know what healthy thinking is, how can you know if your thinking is healthy? How can you coach and support others to apply this crucial skill?

If you don’t know the purpose and function of emotions, how can you support others in their emotional self-management?

High performing organisations ensure their leaders understand, model and coach the skills required to have a healthy mind.

Blind Spot #5: Decision-making is not data-driven.

Good intentions are nice, but they can be disastrous when relied on for corporate wellbeing strategy.

A scientific evidence-base is the most robust rationale for your decision-making.

By including data from your own staff, your strategy becomes even stronger.

Well-crafted wellbeing surveys enable you to direct your resources where they will have the greatest impact.

When you’re data-driven in your approach, you can have confidence in the outcome.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Are there any other blind spots that should be listed here?

We help resolve these blind spots – get in touch if you’d like help with your corporate wellbeing strategy.

Author – Dr Tom Nehmy is a clinical psychologist and Director of Healthy Minds Education & Training

Following the success of Tom’s recent article ‘The Top 5 Mental Health Myths’, Paul Taylor interviewed him about the myths for his podcast audience.

Listen to the full podcast episode here:

The Healthy Minds program is now available as part of the respective government school wellbeing initiatives of NSW, Victoria and SA.

In 2022, Healthy Minds was recognised at the top tier of evidence quality and admitted to the Victorian Government’s Mental Health Menu for schools. By 2024, all government schools, including metropolitan Melbourne, will have access to the ongoing fund to implement wellbeing initiatives. We are excited to have commenced work with several Victorian schools and look forward to expanding our impact in the coming months and years.

At the end of 2022, the Healthy Minds program became available as a quality-assured program in the NSW Department of Education’s Student Wellbeing external programs catalogue in the theme of Resilience.

NSW Education QA seal 2022 24
QA seal 2022 24

And most recently, South Australia’s Department for Education announced its External Wellbeing Programs Directory, on which Healthy Minds is featured. 

We are excited to see the commencement of systematic attempts to present evidence-based intervention for student wellbeing in schools. For more information on how your school can implement Healthy Minds, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Each year Healthy Minds creates a 30 min podcast as a Christmas gift to our network to encourage listeners to ‘Holiday with a Healthy Mind’. After sourcing feedback from clients we tackle the following topics in this short podcast:

Speaking of psychologists, here is some background on our experts.

Tom headshot

Dr Tom Nehmy – Director
Clinical Psychologist | South Australia

Dr Tom Nehmy is the founder of Healthy Minds. More than 45,000 people have attended his workshops, training programs, invited addresses, and conference presentations across Australia and overseas. He has co-authored 10 scholarly articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and was awarded the 2015 Flinders University Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence. His book Apples for the Mind is out now.

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Laura Eyles
Psychologist | Queensland

Laura is a Psychologist with over 14 years experience in creating positive solutions for people and organisations across Australia and NZ. Her successful track record in organisational consultancy, clinical interventions and stakeholder management has equipped her to adapt and lead through uncertainty, manage ambiguity and to solve complex problems. Laura has a particular interest in occupational challenges (stress, burnout, adjustment) and performance enhancement (executive coaching, leadership, team dynamics and resilience).

Please enjoy this podcast and from all of us at Healthy Minds have a healthy, happy and safe Christmas.

Best wishes,

Tom, Nick & the Healthy Minds Team.

Press play below to begin the podcast…

INTRODUCING: The Ultimate Corporate Wellbeing Playbook!

If you’d like an insight into our combined 20+ years of corporate wellbeing experience, and to learn the strategies that leading companies are using to massively boost the wellbeing and performance of their workforce – then this is for you!

For a limited time, my Healthy Minds co-Director Nick Lee and I want to share this little book with our professional networks at no cost. Why? We think it provides a valuable resource that will help you improve how you do wellbeing in the workplace regardless of whether you choose to work with us. It also provides detailed insights into how we work with leading companies in more than 20 countries, which may inspire you to work with us too (if you think we’d be a good fit).

To grab your copy, visit: https://lnkd.in/gSm9azQ

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