Set your priorities and objectives around the opportunities you identified from your baseline data:

  • consider three to five high-level priorities, and
  • break each into smaller objectives. 

Your priorities and objectives will guide your actions moving forward.

  • Key elements:

Your mental health strategy should align with your workplace’s mission, vision and values. It should have a clear link to short and long-term business goals.

Consider having a key performance indicator (KPI) specific to employee mental health. This KPI should tie in to your company’s goals and strategies.

Example:

  • Disability and engagement trends reflect Sun Life’s leadership in mental health
  • Sun Life aligns with Canada’s National Standard for Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace

During busy or high-demand times, you may be tempted to set aside your employee health goals. By doing so, you will only delay progress towards your broader mental health goals. Consider including achievements related to the mental health strategy in leaders’ evaluations.  Document the outcomes. This will help keep leaders accountable.  

You’ll also want to understand how employees perceive your initiatives and actions. Consider adding questions about psychological safety into employee engagement surveys.

Successful workplace mental health strategies focus on:

  • preventing harm
  • promoting positive outcomes, and
  • managing illnesses. 

Strategies should span the continuum of mental health. This includes:

  • Prevention: employees at work and health
  • Early intervention: employees at risk
  • Recovery: employees are off work or returning to work. 

It’s important to recognize mental and physical health are intertwined. Investing in physical health can be an effective aspect of a workplace mental health strategy. It may also be an easier place to start if mental health is a new topic for your workplace. Investing in lifestyle change programs and incentives can be an effective strategy for improving total wellbeing in the workplace.

Financial health is also an area of concern. Research shows that 29% of Canadian employees report being distracted at work by financial issues. And more than one in 10 said that financial issues had caused them to miss at least one day of work in the last year.1

At Sun Life, we focus on three pillars of total wellbeing:

  • mental health
  • physical health
  • financial health

When setting your objectives think about the resources you have available and the degree of effort needed.

  • time
  • money
  • people

Start with a small number of achievable goals – some quick wins. They can build both momentum and focus:

  • Create a detailed psychological demands analysis for each job at your organization.
  • Make the most of all your EAP/EFAP services and programs. For example, financial, social and mental health support.  
  • Offer mental health education sessions to employees. For example, building resilience, adapting to change, understanding stigma. 
  • Launch a formal manager mental health training program for all people leaders. Incorporate this training into the onboarding process. Create a robust communication plan. This will make sure messages are consistent and employees know that mental health is a priority for your workplace. It will also help employees understand what benefits they have and when and where to access them.
  • Incorporate employee mental health and safety into your business continuity and emergency response plan.

If you have any questions along the way, contact us

1Sun Life (2019). Sun Life sustainability report