23 February City leaders gather to discuss mental health and long-term physical conditions in the workplace
Aon's Head of Wellbeing shares the positive impact of This is Me in the workplace
Laura Sartin, Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing UK at Aon shares how The Lord Mayor's Appeal founding patrons are changing workplace culture around mental health in the workplace through This is Me.
"The needs and expectations of workers have evolved quickly over the last few years. People are much more aware of good mental health and are more willing to prioritise their own needs than ever before. This means, as an employer, we need to be supportive of our people. To help them thrive in the workplace by providing a psychologically safe working environment where they feel trusted and respected for the value they bring.
We approach wellbeing in the same way as managing our other health and safety risks. We identify opportunities early and address what might otherwise turn into a risk. It is very much a preventative approach. We identify how mental health and wellbeing might be impacted by work, think about which groups of our colleagues might be affected, prioritising larger groups, taking an organisational approach rather than managing individuals as if they were a problem to be fixed. People are never the problem, we can always take it back to the organisation and ask ourselves, what can we do to make this better?
We are certified to ISO 45001 for health and safety and additionally meet the requirements of ISO 45003 for managing psychosocial risk in the workplace. Following this framework ensures we are continually improving and using a risk based, preventive method to manage mental health and wellbeing at work; importantly our senior leaders are committed to this process.
The ISO guidance considers hazards to wellbeing in three categories; how work is organised, social factors and the physical factors of work. So, we start by understanding the risk. By completing a risk assessment using these three categories, we can identify the things that are likely to cause problems for our people and consider actions that will mitigate or reduce that risk. It is important to really understand what the root cause is and to be specific so that a solution can be applied.
We use data to inform our decisions. We analyse our health and wellbeing data which includes leading as well as lagging indicators regularly, to modify our approach and adjust our messaging so that it remains relevant. We use our staff survey and verbal feedback from our employee communities to contribute to the risk assessment, so we can regularly do a pulse check on the organisation and make sure we are implementing actions that are addressing our current needs. It should be an ongoing process, not a one-time fix.
We are very focused on communication and consultation. Good communication will ensure your message is understood. We don’t just tell people things, we take care to explain and show colleagues, keeping the message clear and simple and repeat, repeat, repeat. In today’s world, we can’t expect colleagues to remember everything or get everything right, there is so much on our minds. So, we have core messages that we repeat over time, using different stories and analogies until it is accepted and understood. We also listen carefully. We understand the mood of the organisation, what is frustrating people, what they are worrying about, and we address it by identifying and implementing targeted actions. We find that small actions can make big impacts. This is not a one time fix, but an ongoing process that depends on listening carefully to your people and responding respectfully to their needs."
Find out more about The Lord Mayor’s Appeal This is Me initiative including the Green Ribbon Campaign here