In 2013 Canada published a national standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (PH&S). The Standard was the result of extensive and rigourous research by academic, occupational and organizational psychology leaders including the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). And in 2013 Google undertook a massive 3-year research study, called Project Aristotle (a follow up on the Oxygen Project) on the defining characteristics and most important factors of highest performing teams. The #1 factor was psychological safety. The Canadian Standard is also the foundation of the new global standard, ISO 45003, set to be released later in 2021.
Psychological safety is the fundamental enabling condition that allows us to be ourselves at work, perform, experience joy, connect and work together in organizations.
We named our business 13 FACTORS after the top psychosocial factors (plus-your unique work context) that most positively and negatively influence the workplace. We took those factors and went further. We identified and aligned the knowledge, skills and workplace behaviours that are correlated and linked to best-in-class business outcomes, workplace cultures and our human needs for inclusion, innovation, belonging, productivity, and supported capability at work.
Before the Pandemic and Today: The workplace has evolved. And there is no going back.
But even before 2020, Canadian and U.S. workplace data pointed to some difficult workplace challenges, with low levels of employee engagement, motivation, trust, innovation and productivity. Multiple sources tracked and reported on the equally troubling and linked levels of workplace stress, anxiety, depression, burnout and escalating mental health concerns.
In August 2020 Deloitte released a study that shone an even stronger light on the need for change as prevention and readiness for future impacts of stress and other influences on our mental health and lives.
What we know for sure. Change isn't easy. So if you:
1. Know internal challenges are coming because you are growing, expanding and changing.
2. Are interested in culture change that will substantially improve productivity and innovation.
3. Want to improve physical safety and product quality.
4. Refocusing on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
5. Thinking about implementing the Canadian National PH&S Standard or the global standard, ISO 45003.
5. Developing or updating your Learning and Development plan.
Sometimes a new perspective added to your thinking can help.
The 13 risk factors of PH&S in the workplace:
+ 14. Any other chronic stressor that may be identified by workers.
The 14th factor is particularly important to unions as they assess psychological health and safety in the workplace. (Canadian Labour Congress)
The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (2013) is a first of its kind in the world. The Standard was developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) with partners and stakeholders focused on workplace and employee mental health and wellbeing. The Canadian Standard helped inform other leading standards, the International Standard, ISO 45003 and new regulations and legislation recently released in Australia. All aligned with the latest science, research and evidence.
These Standards are supported by legislation and regulations in many jurisdictions and present a new way to look at the workplace, safety, ways of working, culture and the impact the workplace has on our lives.
They include guidelines, tools and resources to improve workplace culture and climate, create a more positive and collaborative workplace and prevent psychological harm at work. They each align with Occupational Health and Safety practices and processes for physical safety culture that we have been using for decades. The considerations will be very familiar to you and your team. It expands our concept of health at work to include a priority for our mental health, our psychological health and safety. We will work with you to determine the areas in your organization that present opportunities for improvement, prevention strategies to reduce risk and improve your overall safety culture.
Is employee health and safety critical to your business? Is quality critical to your business? Is continuous improvement, engagement and learning? Collaboration, innovation and productivity?
Consider a new strategic priority in 2020 integrating a learning program matched to these goals, and the factors and the skills needed to achieve long term, sustainable and positive change.