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Responsibility. I recently did a series of short videos on LinkedIn entitled 13 Reasons Why exploring why every organisation needs to invest in building and sustaining a workforce that is resilient in the face of constant, uncertain, complex, volatile and ambiguous change.
I received positive feedback on the series and was asked to augment it with a series of articles on the same subject. Here you are.
The only person that can be held accountable for my physical and mental well-being is me. If I want to be physically and mentally fit, I have an obligation to myself to take action, and I need a willingness to do so.
Ultimately, the buck stops with me.
On the other side of the coin, when I am asked to work in an environment in which change is constant, uncertain, disruptive and unpredictable, that can cause stress, anxiety, fatigue and burnout, the organisation that asked me has a responsibility.
The organisation in which I work and in which I am subject to those mental states has a responsibility to look after, not only my physical well-being but also my mental well-being.
Employers have a responsibility to invest in the education, support and resources to ensure that the workforce can be resilient in the face of constant change.
Employers have a responsibility to invest in the education, support and resources to ensure that leaders are able to create an environment in which resilience can thrive. Leaders need to be equipped with the competency to identify early signs of low resilience and take the appropriate action.
To not do so, is pure negligence.
Negligence could see employers behind bars
We now have workforce manslaughter laws in place in the Australian states of Queensland, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory to protect employees.
The offence of industrial manslaughter under the law is defined as negligent conduct that causes, or substantially contributes to the death of a worker. Prosecution can be brought against a body corporate or individual senior officer. It carries a maximum penalty of $10 million dollars for a company or 20 years imprisonment for a senior officer.
If an employee was to commit suicide which could be attributed to unaddressed stress, anxiety. fatigue or burnout in the workplace, the law could be applied.
Brand and reputation
Leaving alone the money and jail term, the brand and reputation of the organisation has gone down the toilet for good.
Not only will no-one want to work at the organisation, consumers will not want to do business with an organisation found guilty of contributing to an employee’s death.
The employer needs to understand the needs of the workforce.
A strategy can then be put in place to improve the overall health and well-being of employees including programs for resilience.
A positive workplace well-being culture is required which builds personal skills (including resilience) and removes the stigma associated with mental issues. Leaders have to be able to intervene early and support employees through to recovery.
Employer: If not now, when? Can you afford to wait?
Employee: Ask your employer what is being done. Raise their awareness of the consequences.
This is the last in the series ‘13 Reasons Why.’
If you are an employer reading this, I ask you ‘Why not?’.
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