What do mentally wealthy organisations differently to others? Good question, right?

What Mentally wealthy organisations do is they see resilience and wellbeing as an integral part of their culture, in the extraordinary cases – it IS their culture. It’s not just an add on.

Think back to your time in organisations over the past maybe 10 to 20 years or so.  How many ‘strategic initiatives’ can you recall?  I can think of a stack of them: Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Employee Onboarding, Activity Based Costing, Management by Objectives, Triple Bottom Line Accounting…  And quite a few more.  How many of these really stuck and became part of the fabric of the organisation?  How many are you actively practicing today?

Probably not many, right?

And this is the problem with bolt on initiatives.  The Board or the leadership team will get hold of an idea from somewhere and decide it will be the next silver bullet that’s going to give them a strategic advantage over competitors and transform the industry landscape.  Project teams are established, consultants are hired, strategic plans are announced, budgets are approved and work begins.  But before long the project team encounters the headwinds of organisational inertia.  When push comes to shove, for example when a leader’s bonus rides on hitting a sales target, they will prioritise business as usual over supporting the project team.  With bolt on initiatives, what looks like commitment is actually in-principle support, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of ‘the important stuff’.

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There is a ROI of 2.3 on average direct correlation between the mental health of your employees and your organisation’s financial performance.  It is no-brainer.  Therefore it is too important to chance employee mental health to the success of your ‘Wellness Program’ or ‘RUOK Awareness Day’.  Mental health built into everything you do cannot be an add-on to what you do. It needs to be in built into everything you do. It needs to be part of the how you think or how you talk in your organization. It needs to permeate your policies. It needs to permeate how you move the organization.

You can cut logs and carry them to the nearest town and then put them on a truck. Or, you can chug the logs onto the river and let the flow take it to the nearest town. Which one is easier? Don’t make your employee mental health initiative a bolt on that you have to expend additional energy to execute.  Make it flow by incorporating it into the way your leaders lead.

It can’t be like, “Oh, did we talk about mental health this quarter? We need to put something in the Board report.” No, it happens as a matter of course.  It’s what we do. It’s not a bolt-on, it’s totally integrated.

That’s it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Pillar.

Talk soon and have a mentally healthy day.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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