Psychosocial Risk Management: An Organisational Approach

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Case Study
  4. /
  5. Psychosocial Risk Management: An Organisational Approach

Psychosocial Risk Management: An Organisational Approach

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving work environment, the mental well-being of employees is paramount. Psychosocial hazards — those elements within the workplace that can harm health — are increasingly recognised as critical factors that impact employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall organisational health.

Culture is a tricky beast. Always has been. It is poorly understood, rarely receives the investment or attention it requires and is entirely interpretive and individualistic by nature. It is the sum total of how people think, feel and interact. 

Culture counts and now, we are required to count it.

So where should we start?

Australian companies have generally been very good at managing physical risks in the workplace. But, according to the Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation, organisations now have to manage psychosocial risks in the same way. Failure to do so carries significant implications for organisations and for individual managers.

Wrapping our heads around the challenge of managing psychosocial risk within organisations is multi-tiered because:

  • Traditionally, risk management addresses an incident, occurring at a singular point in time which has definable causes and once prevention strategies are in place, re-occurrence is likely avoidable.
  • Psychosocial risks are often unseen and mental health remains stigmatised, making it difficult to meet WHS obligations.
  • Organisations lack the framework to educate Leaders in how to identify and triage psychosocial hazards or incidents effectively.
  • Legacy culture issues  and silos prevent cross functional collaboration which is essential to developing organisational frameworks and a collaborative approach to this emerging issue. 

Yet the heat is on and to manage it, we must.

The latest WHS guidelines require companies to partner through consultation with their employees in the identification and management of psychosocial risks in the workplace.

The legislation requires us to:

  1. Identify foreseeable hazards
  2. Assess the risks
  3. Implement controls (so far as is reasonably practicable) to address identified risks
  4. Monitor the effectiveness of the control measures

And this must all be supported and informed by consultation with your workers.

Yet, inside organisations we are still grappling with questions like:

Whose job is it anyway?

  • What’s the difference between culture, mental health and psychosocial hazards?
  • How can we really measure something we can’t even see?
  • Can we really be expected to be responsible for people’s mental health?
  • How can we work together to solve this problem when the silo’s are so entrenched?
  • How should we approach a situation of concern without interfering or making it worse?

So we have developed a model. To simplify things. To carve a pathway through the complexity of psychosocial risk management.

In truth, it’s an adaptation of the model we have been working with for over 10 years, which helps organisations to transform. 3 simple steps. Although not always easy:

  1. Benchmark
  2. Build
  3. Embed

Trying to change behaviour without investing in relationships is a fool’s game. Relationships precede engagement. 

Compliance is a powerful motivator but if you want lasting change, start with ‘Why’, engage your workforce and work together to meet your legislative requirements while actually building a better, safer culture. 

And at the end of the day, that’s the intent of the legislation.

Compliance and Culture can co-exist. Get good at doing good versus very good at doing. 

Want to identify your psychosocial hazards, in real time? Check out our website.

Share This ...