It goes without saying that most of us want to live full healthy holistic lives. We strive to live the highest quality life possible, to do this we need to be concerned with more than just our physical health - we must achieve a state of wellness.
How the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace will Enhance Your Company’s Productivity
The National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace has issued Guidelines. This is a voluntary standard intended to provide systematic guidance for Canadian employers to help enable them to establish and continuously improve psychologically safe and healthy work environments for their employees.
Many of us don't realize this.
Personally and through my business, I have witnessed an increase in requests for professional development and consulting on stress in the workplace. Research clearly indicates that the general influence of emotional intelligence supports stronger physical and mental health as we manage stress and encourage a positive attitude. A good level of fitness, healthy nutrition and mindfulness contribute to making you feel good. When you add in emotional intelligence, you create the basis for a physically and psychologically strong workplace, helping your organization to go further. By encouraging these attributes in a preventative and proactive way, this system supports wellness unequivocally.
Recently I was introduced to Hansell Consulting Group Inc. (HCG) an industry leader in workplace wellness. HCG is leading a fundamental shift in the way employers consider the topic of Wellness. They understand that the majority of traditional benefit plans do not encourage Health and Wellness, but provide financial protection for many behaviors that work against employee well-being. They recognize that costs for benefits, pensions and Wellness programming cannot be fully managed after the fact. Once an employee has a health condition, you can usually only hope to minimize the cost. HCG instead encourages organizations to get ahead of the curve and adapt a proactive posture by supporting the wellness of their employee population. Brian Hansell, President of HCG says,
“Ask 5 people what wellness means to them and you will get 5 different answers. Often employers try to slap wellness onto an existing benefits offering. As a result, programming tends to follow the notion of what is “in vogue”, the mood of the moment or even or what the competition is doing. Oddly, benefits, pensions, and wellness are thrown together independently and with a new or higher cost, with the goal of targeting old problems without measurable outcomes. We believe that the fundamental shift is that Wellness is not a component of a benefits plan. Benefits and pensions are components of your Wellness program.”
Clients have their own unique wellness position and strategy.
In further discussions with HCG, I learned that their methodology helps to ensure clients have their own unique wellness position and strategy that supports the overall culture and vision for the organizations they represent. The long sought value on investment equation is solved through their analytics and reporting tools, which means that companies will have the confidence to implement wellness programming in keeping with the needs of their employees and organization. This is a win-win situation that can often be accomplished without an increase in costs.
Over the past year, HCG worked with a significant number of diverse organizations to gather research to develop the Wellness Index, the first of its kind in Canada, which was launched in the spring of this year.
The Index is a useful assessment tool that begins the conversation about the importance and scope of wellness and explores how companies define Wellness and Wellness Programming. The high-level review of the Wellness Index survey responses highlights the importance of three significant topics:
- Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
- Organizational Culture
Interesting Findings from the Wellness Index research
- 6% of respondents have implemented Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Guidelines
- 9% more are in the process of implementing Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Guidelines
- 36% are not aware of the Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Guidelines
- 34% are vaguely aware of the Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Guidelines
- The balance, are aware of the guidelines but have no interest in implementing the Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Guidelines
These results are astounding and I struggle with the fact that so many organizations are not following the Guidelines that were put forth by the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
Truthfully, most companies want their employees to be well and engaged at work just as much as they want their company to be as productive as possible. Clearly, there is a disconnect here. I believe the Wellness Index will increase awareness of the Guidelines and help to highlight the benefits of including them in the definition of wellness for the organization so that the company and employees are both winning!