Your Member Benefits Website features include:

  • Access to online articles with helpful information
  • Ability to submit an online form asking a counselor to contact you
  • Topics covering working life, wellness, parenting, management, etc.

Your Customer Hub features include:

  • Automated headcount updates in UCMS
  • Invoicing reflective of the active populations under your account
  • Access reporting with case trends, disruptive issues, utilization

Local Service Partners

Local Service Partners are independent EAPs with which WPO has established strategic relationships for the delivery of global EAP services in alignment with the WPO models, processes and quality standards.

  • 28 May 2024
  • 2 months

Building a Resilient Workforce: Prioritizing Psychological Safety in Canadian Organizations

Bob Batchelor

VP Enterprise Marketing

Canadians are grappling with numerous challenges, both emotional and physical, as they navigate the aftermath of the pandemic, racial awakening, numerous global conflicts, and economic uncertainties. Trying to make their way in these turbulent times, many Canadians find themselves struggling to maintain balance, particularly in the workplace.

With roots in Canada dating back decades and a network of counsellors across the country, Workplace Options wanted to identify these issues – based on the actual data gathered from its clinicians – which would enable clients and other companies to find solutions to their employees’ most pressing concerns.

The Workplace Options “Psychological Safety Study: Global Context for Organizational Success” uncovered the issues at the heart of the various obstacles employees are dealing with in their professional lives. The primary challenge – faced by about one-third of workers – is keeping up with their daily work activities, ranging from workload and unclear objectives, to conflicts with the organization’s values and lack of autonomy.

More than a quarter of Canadian employees also struggle with achieving work-life balance, which can lead to increased stress and job burnout. Another 20 per cent report experiencing tension or conflicts with their managers. These types of behaviours are particularly difficult, having the potential for poor job performance and morale.

WPO’s findings are backed by the research others have conducted, including Nadeem Esmail, a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute, who examined systemic issues delaying mental health treatment. He found that individuals often wait nearly six months from the time of referral by a general practitioner to receive treatment from a psychiatrist. Further exacerbating the issue, Canadians find that it is harder to get treatment from general practitioners because there simply aren’t enough to meet the demand compared to other countries with universal healthcare systems.

Addressing these kinds of fundamental challenges requires a concerted effort by Canadian executives that prioritizes employee wellbeing and engagement. Mental wellbeing is a significant component of creating a psychologically safe workplace that leads to higher levels of employee engagement. The latter is critical in cultivating innovation, enhancing collaboration among teams, and ultimately driving profitability.

Psychological safety serves as the cornerstone of a healthy workplace culture, reassuring employees that they can express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns without fear of judgment or reprisal. In psychologically safe environments, teams exhibit greater resilience, problem-solving abilities, and overall performance.

One way to overcome the lack of resources is to find innovative alternatives, such as Single-Session Therapy (SST), which provides immediate access to trained clinicians, and bypasses traditional barriers, such as scheduling delays and lengthy paperwork. WPO has utilized SST for mining companies in Canada, which is the nation’s second most dangerous industry.

Studies revealed that some 56 per cent of miners have mental wellbeing challenges, a figure that is three times the Canadian national average. When it comes to symptoms of mild to severe depression, miners experience it at double the national average. The challenge for miners is intensified when you think about where they work physically and the grueling hours and conditions. The difficulties have negative consequences for work-life balance and job performance. Historically, many employees in this industry felt a stigma about asking for help and faced potential harassment from coworkers and supervisors. As a result, many faced poor  wellbeing outcomes, from sleep disturbances to substance abuse issues.

Rapid intervention through SST can be particularly beneficial for industries like mining, where employees face significant physical and psychological challenges. By providing employees with immediate support and resources, organizations can empower them to address mental health concerns proactively.

Across Canada, the value of SST is revealed in how members have responded. WPO’s clinicians spend an average of 44 minutes with employees, compared with the industry average of less than 10 minutes. Emerging studies are highlighting the critical nature of that initial call. One session is all many people need to see significant improvement in their situations.

Leaders play a pivotal role in fostering a culture of psychological safety and support within organizations. Executives must exemplify behaviours that promote openness, trust, and inclusion. This includes prioritizing transparent communication, soliciting feedback from employees, and creating opportunities for personal growth and development.

Prioritizing mental health support in the workplace, explains Dina El Helou, WPO Director of Service Delivery – Canada, builds a culture of empathy, provides necessary resources, and promotes open communication. The outcome is a more compassionate and resilient work environment for all employees.

There are real-world, bottom-line business reasons for helping employees solve their mental wellbeing challenges. Healthier and happier employees are more innovative, work better together, are less willing to leave the company, and are more likely to serve as brand ambassadors in the community. By cultivating psychologically safe workplaces and advancing employee engagement, organizations can drive sustainable success. When we ask ourselves “Are we helping people,” we know that through programs like SST the answer is a definitive and resounding “Yes!”

For more information about Single Session Therapy and other ways Workplace Options can help your organization build psychological safety and employee engagement, contact us to learn more.

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family, and personal needs to become healthier, happier, and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness, and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals, and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs. Contact us to learn more. 

This content is intended for general information only. It does not provide specific direction, advice, or recommendations. You may wish to contact an appropriate professional for questions concerning your particular situation.

Related Posts

Wellbeing at Work Resources

Explore, educate and engage with our library of reports and insights on wellbeing industry trends.