Taking a holistic approach to psychosocial risk management

As we plan for workplace wellbeing in 2022 – or re-adjust plans as the case may be – it’s important to take a holistic approach that looks to prevent poor employee wellbeing and intervene with risks that are overwhelmingly present in many organisations. In our senior leadership discussions over the last few weeks, when the agenda calls for identifying current risks in our client organisations, the following have been consistently raised.

  1. On-going burnout and fatigue[1] is likely to continue to be a feature within our teams. It has been a challenging couple of years and for many this might be the first time we have come close to experiencing cognitive fatigue[2]. Left on our own, the experience of burnout can lead many to create internal narratives about our experience, and these are not always helpful on our mindsets! In 2022, psycho-education on burnout will be critical for all, along with practical strategies on how we begin to recover from burnout and make incremental shifts to our mindsets to re-energise[3];
  2. The ‘Great Resignation’ and ongoing organisational change will see many teams operating at peak demand with reduced resources[4]. This will put additional loads on already fatigued leaders who will be scrambling to motivate and bring together sparse teams. In 2022, equipping our leaders with simple techniques that assist them in motivating and energising their team will be a priority[5];
  3. Covid-19 has had a silver lining: we are more open to all things relating to mental health and psychological wellbeing than ever before. For two years, we have been highlighting the importance of protecting our wellbeing, and for the most part, we have been putting wellbeing strategies into practice[6]. 2022 allows us to consolidate these strategies and ensure we can sustain them into the long-term future, even as more change sits on the horizon. Being equipped with practical ‘hacks’ to support and maintain our wellbeing habits will serve as a useful protective feature for our teams;
  4. Mental health is going to continue to be on the radar this year. Many of us have been left vulnerable as a result of the many demands we have been navigating, and as such mental literacy and practical skills here will be essential[7];
  5. Finally, as we begin to re-take steps to return to different versions of hybrid work[8], our leaders will need to be supported in conducting the many sensitive conversations that a return is likely to create: conversations around office attendance, fears around covid, requests for flexible/remote work and vaccination status among many others. Often highly emotional, it will be vital we support our leaders as they enter into these discussions[9] so that we can make effective transitions.

While not exhaustive, the above is a starting point for us as we prepare. Despite how it might feel, there is great opportunity to be found in 2022. We have shown courage and resilience in the face of on-going demand, not to mention flexibility[10] and responsiveness to change. This year we have the chance to consolidate and rally our teams, making us stronger than ever before!

Contact us here for more information on how we are supporting our client organisations in addressing these ever-present psychosocial risks in 2022.

[1], 8 Gartner (2021). Future of Work Reinvented: Reshape the Culture. https://www.gartner.com/resources/760500/760502/Future_of_Work_Reinv_760502_ndx.pdf.

[2] NIOSH (2021). The NIOSH future of work initiative research agenda. By Tamers S, Pana-Cryan R, Ruff T, Streit J, Flynn M, Childress A, Chang CC, Novicki E, Ray T, Fosbroke D, Geraci C (2022). Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 105. https://doi.org/10.26616/NIOSHPUB2022105.

[3] Michel JS, Rotch MA, Carson JE et al (2021). Flattening the Latent Growth Curve? Explaining Within-Person Changes in Employee Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Occup Health Sci 5, 247–275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41542-021-00087-4.

[4] Ng MA, Naranjo A, Schlotzhauer AE, Shoss MK, Kartvelishvili N, Bartek M, Ingraham K, Rodriguez A, Schneider SK, Silverlieb-Seltzer L, Silva C (2021). Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Accelerated the Future of Work or Changed Its Course? Implications for Research and Practice. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Jan;18(19):10199. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910199.

[5] Wedell-Wedellsborg M (2020). Leading into the Post-Covid Recovery. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/08/leading-into-the-post-covid-recovery.

[6] Allen S (2020). Could COVID-19 accelerate improvements in mental health and wellbeing? Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/blog/covid19-blog/2020/covid19-accelerate-improvements-mental-health-wellbeing.html.

[7] Teachman B (2021). Five Ways to Protect Your Emotional Health Post-COVID. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_ways_to_protect_your_emotional_health_post_covid.


[9] Ladika S (2020). Difficult Conversations: More Difficult Than Ever. HR Magazine, Winter 2020. Society for Human Resource Management. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/winter2020/pages/conducting-difficult-conversations-amid-the-pandemic.aspx

[10] Centre for Corporate Health (2020). How to reframe if your thoughts are more unhelpful than helpful. https://cfch.com.au/2020/02/20/how-to-reframe-if-your-thoughts-are-more-unhelpful-than-helpful/