It's critical to employees' performance and the organization's own bottom line
Every modern organization needs to create a psychologically healthy and safe work environment — both for the sake of its employees and its own bottom line.
Employees in a psychologically healthy and safe environment are more likely to be passionate about what they do; they are more motivated to deliver a good customer service. They feel safe to express concerns and issues about their physical and psychological safety and comfortable to raise concerns with their managers about things like workload, which builds an open and honest dialogue. Psychologically healthy and safe workplaces also experience less absenteeism, presenteeism and internal conflict.
A company’s first customers are its employees, says Andrew Harkness, Strategy Advisor, Organizational Health Initiatives, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services. If a company takes cares of its employees well, its employees will take care of its paying customers.
“We’ve heard for a long time the concept of ‘a happy worker is a productive worker,’ and research today reinforces that,” Harkness says. “If you’re thinking along the lines of creating a work environment that is supportive of thriving and healthy and engaging practices for staff, the payoff is that will translate it to higher customer engagement and performance.”
One of the many risks associated with not taking steps to build a psychologically healthy and safe environment is brand liability. Workplaces facing issues such as sexual harassment, bullying and violence, for instance, run the risk of “having their internal issues played in a very public forum.”
Another significant risk is related to business cost. People who are out of work for mental injury represent about 30% of an organization’s benefit utilization in terms of short-term and long-term disability, but those people represent about 70% of the cost. Harkness says that these very expensive claims in a benefits package “are not going to go down anytime soon.”
For organizational leaders who are eager to develop a strategy for creating a psychologically healthy and safe environment, Harkness recommends taking a proactive approach. This is something that needs to be prioritized.
“When we’re talking about creating a psychologically safe and healthy workplace, we’re actually talking about two things that the employer should already doing: how they organize their work and how they manage their people,” Harkness says. “When they do these things well, companies thrive and survive. When they don’t do these well, this is what creates mental distress, which is what creates toxicity in the workplace.”
Download this white paper to find out more about the significance of psychological health in the workplace and how you can start to make at change at your organization.