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Embedding psychological safety best practice

The diagram in this article outlines a common standard for organisations to follow best practice and comply with requirements around psychological safety. This can vary depending on your region but at a top level, organisations are required to identify risks/hazards, assess risks, embed control measures to reduce or eliminate risks and review control measures to improve them over time.

What should I consider when it comes to duty of care and best practice

  • Legal obligations: Understand the legal obligations and requirements related to your role as a leader. Familiarise yourself with employment laws, health and safety regulations, anti-discrimination laws, and any other applicable laws or regulations that govern your organisation and industry.

  • Physical safety: Provide a safe working environment for your team members. Identify and mitigate potential risks and hazards in the workplace. Comply with health and safety standards, and ensure that necessary safety protocols, equipment, and training are in place.

  • Emotional wellbeing: Foster a positive and supportive work environment that prioritises the emotional wellbeing of your team members. Encourage open communication, actively listen to their concerns, and address any issues related to stress, work-life balance, or interpersonal conflicts promptly and appropriately.

  • Development and growth: Support the professional development and growth of your team members. Provide opportunities for learning, skill-building, and career advancement. Offer guidance, mentorship, and resources to help them reach their full potential.

  • Clear expectations and feedback: Set clear expectations and provide regular feedback to your team members. Communicate goals, objectives, and performance standards effectively. Offer constructive feedback and recognition to foster their growth and improvement.

  • Ethical conduct: Lead by example and ensure that your own conduct aligns with ethical standards. Act with integrity, fairness, and respect in all interactions. Avoid any form of discrimination, harassment, or favouritism.

  • Conflict resolution: Develop skills in conflict resolution and problem-solving. Address conflicts or disagreements within your team in a timely and fair manner. Encourage open dialogue, actively listen to different perspectives, and mediate conflicts when necessary.

  • Crisis management: Be prepared to handle crises or emergencies effectively. Develop contingency plans, communicate emergency procedures to your team, and provide support during challenging times. Act swiftly and responsibly to mitigate risks and protect the well-being of your team.

  • Continuous learning and improvement: Stay updated on best practices, industry trends, and new developments relevant to your leadership role. Seek opportunities for professional development and learning to enhance your skills and knowledge.

What happens if our processes are reviewed

A review of your processes would vary as each review is a dynamic process depending on the regulator examining your systems. Commonly though, a regulator would examine current systems, the degree of implementation, people's understanding of systems, incident history, hazard reports, and opportunities for improvement. It is important for leaders to be able to demonstrate a commitment to wellbeing and safety, and the level of commitment may vary depending on your expected duty of care.

What factors can influence duty of care expectations

Some leaders face greater expectations and challenges in caring for the wellbeing and safety of others. The following factors, among others, may contribute to this:

  • Size & structure of your organisation: Are you the leader of a larger organisation? Dispersed workforce? You might face greater public expectations and find it more challenging to manage wellbeing and safety at scale across multiple regions.

  • Nature of work and learning: Are you working with vulnerable people, younger people, the elderly, higher risk or mentally demanding work and learning? Rural and remote communities? Traumatic event exposure? You might be expected to take greater care for mental health.

  • Legal and regulatory requirements: What are the local codes of practice in your jurisdiction for managing mental health safety? You could face requirements to embed systems to identify, resolve and report on mental health risks.

  • Public expectations and reputation: Are you expected by the public to demonstrate commitment to social responsibility? Is mental health heavily promoted in your area? In this case, it's important to demonstrate commitment.

  • Previous mental illness incidents: Have you had a mental illness event take place prior in your organisation or as a leader? You could be expected to increase your duty of care to prevent future issues from going unresolved.