Workplace Wellbeing

Spotlight on psychosocial hazards roundtable: 4 top takeaways

Sam Musguin-Rowe



Psychosocial hazards. Daunting words, the pair of them, in very different ways. In simple terms, this is all about keeping staff safe at work – both mentally and physically – and it’s a massive focus for organisations in 2023.

To flesh out what this means for modern businesses, we brought together wellbeing pros from a wide cross-section of APAC organisations, including Arup, EY, Accenture, Citi, QBE Insurance, the University of New South Wales, IAG, TAFE NSW and Culture Amp.

All good leaders want to protect their people, but many companies sit at a delicate midpoint: aware of the importance of psychosocial hazards, yet still unsure how best to protect their people. 

So we asked our experts: how do you take action? Here’s a rundown of what they had to say.

Businesses won’t get this right away

Forget psychosocial risk factors, mental health itself remains a novel concept for some organisations. 

Pre-pandemic, many companies saw corporate wellbeing as a high-priced perk. Less a must-have, more a bonus. True culture change takes time. So it’s key to remember that employers – and employees too – are a wellbeing work in progress. 

How to get there? Don’t be afraid to engage the entire organisation. Lasting change takes buy-in from the top-down and bottom-up, so involving people from all levels of the business to flesh out your PSHM approach will give you a handy headstart.

Data drives results

Here’s an awkward fact. Awareness, unless tied to meaningful insight, isn’t actually that useful.

By building PSHM strategy around reliable data, leaders can make decisions based on facts, not gut feelings. And, given the past few years of short-lived, half-baked wellbeing solutions, basing strategy on robust evidence is the proverbial gamechanger, and vital to getting top execs on board. 

Even better, facts don’t have feelings, so you can adapt your approach depending on what’s shown to work, without shutting down anyone’s misplaced efforts. The result? Done right: safer staff, proven ROI.

Budget-based silos must be binned 

To drive wellbeing initiatives that actually work – for the business, and everyone in it – HR, Execs, and Work Health & Safety (WHS) have to be on the same page. More than that, the same budget sheet

Why? Because cross-departmental silos can crush any PSHM progress, as this creates a whole bunch of blockers and gatekeepers, even when everyone involved wants the same thing.

Creating a shared budget (not separate ones to cover safety/wellbeing/HR), then validating the right approach with data, is a powerful step towards lasting change.

Words matter

Making sure your leaders know how to speak to staff about mental health and wellbeing is perhaps the most powerful step of all. Why? Because managers interact with more employees on a daily basis than even the busiest CEO.

Problem is, leaders are lacking in know-how. How can you fix this? By upskilling them with mental health training. In doing so, you allow them to support their teammates from a place of confidence and insight (not well-intentioned guesswork). 

Then, just as important, employees can feel comfortable to confide in their manager and, long-term, psychologically-safe in the workplace.

Over time, this is cultural change in action. Creating an environment where every person in your whole organisation can access the right care at the right time – whether that’s learning, support or data that drives results – and flourish at work and home alike.