Communicating a mental wellbeing strategy is vital as it shows you're committed to open communication based on trust and respect.
Also, if your people don't know about the policy, they can't benefit from it.
There are many ways you can communicate your policy. Some are formal, such as through written communications and during inductions. Others can be informal, such as by role modelling good behaviour and discussing mental wellbeing with employees.
Good communication needs to start well before the policy is even created.
Talk to people at the beginning, letting them know you’re developing a mental wellbeing policy – and why. Make sure everyone knows their input will be valued.
Listen and respond to people's opinions and suggestions, even if you can't take them all on. Open, two-way communication is important to demonstrate leadership's commitment to staff wellbeing and a positive organisational culture.
Preparing the way
Communicating the intention to improve workplace mental wellbeing is more likely to be positively received if there’s the following:
- Management is on board – Senior managers are supportive. They truly believe the benefits and model them. Sharing their own experiences, including how they built resilience and learned to accept their own their strengths and weaknesses, shows mental wellbeing is a safe topic at work.
- Genuine consultation – Let everyone know what's happening before writing the strategy. Tell them why it's happening and that each person’s input is welcome.
- Organisation-wide approach – Clearly state the benefits for employees individually and collectively.
- Action is assured – You know management will put some strategies in place to action the policy (see the first point).
- All views are valued – Everybody who contributes their time and opinions is seen as a valuable stakeholder, so commit to keep them in the loop.
- Feedback – Everyone in the entire organisation hears what’s happening (not just those who have contributed their views). The resulting actions and planned timeframes are communicated immediately.
Ways to communicate
You might communicate your activities by:
- distributing a copy of the mental wellbeing policy, for consultation and when it’s finalised
- providing printed mental wellbeing resources in common areas
- including mental wellbeing messages in staff communications
- providing training and education that supports good mental wellbeing and managing mental illness, such as mindfulness
- including information in employee induction packs and during recruitment
- creating support material for managers and leaders.