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Building thriving workplaces video transcript

For: Employers and managers Information seekers

Video transcript of presentation given by Margo Lydon, Superfriend at Comcare's Mental Health Community of Practice in May 2019.

View the video of Margo Lydon's presentation.


Margo Lydon:

Good morning. It's absolutely fantastic to be with you this morning, and I really want to extend a very heartfelt thank you to Comcare for inviting me to be part of this incredible community of practice. I think when you start a community and then you bring together really smart people that are in the room and around the country, you have a really great opportunity to elevate and take forward some really great thinking, some opportunities to change and improve and see really great outcomes.

Margo Lydon:

And I reflect on SuperFriend as an organisation that I'm very fortunate to lead, and about 12 years ago about 20 CEOs of the industry funds, which are these guys, were sitting around the table thinking about what could they do in workplace mental health for their members. They represented well over half the working population, over 750,000 employers, and collectively they were starting to say through their data some of the really devastating statistics around suicide and mental illness and came together and created SuperFriend as an organisation.

Margo Lydon:

I've been fortunate to lead the organisation for coming up nine years and seen it from a little bitty organisation grow. And we ourselves have been on a journey, as any organisation is, about how do we internally create a mentally healthy workplace for all of our people. I can tell you also as a first time CEO, I haven't got it right all the way through. I've learned a lot personally and I've had the absolute privilege of an incredible team to work with us to help me in my learning journey.

Margo Lydon:

Today I'll be sharing with you some of our fantastic insights from some of the research work that we've been doing on indicators of a thriving workplace. And I think more importantly is at the back end of his presentation to talk with you and share with you some really simple, really practical, basic but not easy basic, but basic things that we can be doing to really change the dialogue, shift the absolute behaviour change we need to see within organisations. And so I'll start with talking with you about our indicators of a thriving workplace.

Margo Lydon:

Now what this national research does is to measure against 40 scientifically validated indicators of a thriving workplace, where is Australia at? We do this on a national basis. There's over 5,000 respondents. It's representative of business owners, managers and people leaders, as well as workers across multiple industries. We have recently upped it from 38 indicators to 40 and done the work behind the scenes to validate those indicators, and I think that has brought a level of credibility to these national results.

Margo Lydon:

What we've done also over the 40 indicators is to break up the indicators into five domains, and like many great frameworks or systems, these are integrated. Workplace mental health is complex. It's a complex construct. You cannot just take civility or risk management or leadership and just look at it in isolation. What we've heard this morning is such brilliant examples of how this has been brought to life through an integrated approach, and it's the same in the five domains that we've got here. Under each of those domains are eight of the indicators.

Margo Lydon:

So 40 sounds a lot. I get that. But it takes about 20 minutes to do this survey. What we've also done is looked at out of the 40 indicators, which of those indicators that are the top indicators, the most important to get right, and these are them. For leaders it's about walking the talk when it comes to work life, mental health and wellbeing. This is about us as leaders role modeling to our people that we are walking the talk when it comes to workplace mental health. In connectedness this is about their feeling like, and we've just heard this incredible word of community, that this is not just about getting the job done or the task done, this is a really great opportunity to build that sense of community across the workplace.

Margo Lydon:

In the policy perspective, it's great to have the policies, but they're absolutely useless unless they're in action and people see them in action. So what we've pulled out of this is about having that action plan and people actually seeing those policies in practice. In the capability area it really comes down to people having good capability about having mental health and wellbeing conversations. So this quite often will start with training and building capability of your leaders to be able to lean in and step in. Pick up those early warning signs and really reach out to people who might be struggling and needing some further support. And in the culture area, and we've heard this again this morning, it's really around that sense of purpose and meaning. Something bigger than just me that I can attach to, that I can create with the job that I'm doing today, is actually bigger and broader.

Margo Lydon:

So I'm going to share with you some of the results. Now we've been cutting and dicing over these 5,000 plus respondents and looking at the results from numerous different ways. If you're interested, jump on the SuperFriend website. We've got a range of different industry results in detail. We've looked at gender a range of different ways. But I'm going to focus today on what does this mean for you in your jobs and your industries that you're representing. I would be suspecting the very vast majority of you have come into your career and why you are sitting in this chair today all over the country because you care and you want to make a difference. That will be a motivator because of why you're actually here. And so some of the results that I'm going to share with you are about the public administration and safety industry, which is a broad industry, and I want you to have a think about the results of this and what does it mean for you in the opportunity that you have to influence change.

Margo Lydon:

One in four people strongly agree with these results is the national average. I'll just explain on each of the following few slides, at the end of each of the statements, the percentage is the results for the public administration and safety industry results. Okay? So about 25% of Australians strongly agree, and there's obviously a cascade further down from that, the people are courteous and treat me with respect. People feel that they are part of a team. People would be happy to continue working in their workplace for as long as they can. There is a clear expectation that all leaders role model the values of the workplace, and that's obviously in the leadership domain. People feel committed to their work team. So at the end of these we've got 25% nationally and we've got some results here of the public administration and safety industry results. About 20%, one in five people, strongly agree that people are motivated to work hard because their job is interesting and important to them personally.

Margo Lydon:

Interestingly it's 13.4% strongly agree when we're looking at the public administration and safety results. For people who feel good about working here, it's at 14.9%. These are some sobering statistics folks. Relationships are built on trust, 10% strongly agree. And yet we've heard how important trust is for civility, how important trust is to be able to have a conversation to say what do I actually need. We've got people who care about each other. And I must say when these stats came through from my amazingly smart people in my team and I looked at 8.9%, I did take a big deep breath in and thought, 'Wow, these people who work in public administration and safety genuinely take roles because you care about people.' And yet we've got within their own workplace a statistic like this. So I think we've really got to have a think about our own backyard here as well as the good work that we're doing externally.

Margo Lydon:

We've got one in six people who strongly agree with people are comfortable voicing concerns about their job or things that might affect their job, and that's at 11.9%. There is support to help people practice good work, family life, whatever you want to call it, integration, balanced boundaries, whatever the terminology that you refer to, but it's about being able to be your whole self, bring your whole self to work, and make sure that you've got really great balance within your world. And for the public administration and safety industry results it's at 9.5%.

Margo Lydon:

One in eight people strongly agree efforts are made to help people find purpose and meaning. So if we reflect back around culture, which is the discussion for today, that is the single most important indicator out of the eight indicators for culture, and we've got 5.5%. The culture encourages open discussion about issues that affect mental health and wellbeing. We've got 6.6%. Trust me, the presentation gets better. From here.

Margo Lydon:

So I want to share with you where are we at regarding Australia. Now, Australia is considered neck and neck with Canada as the best in the world when it comes to workplace mental health and wellbeing. And I think that's largely because we've had a really robust and great work health and safety approach in this country, we've dialled up psychological safety, particularly in the last few years, and I want to congratulate the workers' compensation jurisdictions around the country, Comcare included, for the work you've done to elevate this important topic. But we've got a ways to go.

Margo Lydon:

So the national results is we're sitting at 62.7 out of 100. Not bad, but a long way to go. For the public administration and safety, which is in the purple, we're at 58.9 out of 100. And it just goes to show that I think over here when we're looking at policy, we're doing it really well compared to the national average. But it's the other areas, the other domains, that I think needs probably a little bit more focus and opportunity for focus. We see when we look at large organisations, they do a policy particularly well and small organisations do connectedness really well. So what do we learn from both of those and how do we apply it across the board?

Margo Lydon:

So where are we sitting when we're looking at all of the industries across Australia? These are the 2018 results by industry. The very best industries in the country are electricity, gas, water and waste services. Professional scientific and technical services, and arts and recreation. Now, I so get the arts and recreation. I really get that. But I'm thinking what are they doing in water, gas, all of those types of services, that we could be learning from and doing a little bit differently? Unfortunately folks at the bottom is the public administration and safety, and I know for some of you that won't be a surprise as you're aware of some of the results, but we do have a ways to go. And I think what I would love to encourage you today is think about how is it that you can be the catalyst for change to actually make a difference. As Karen was talking about, how do you fulfil and see that ripple on the pond effect in the work that you can be doing as champions, as leaders in your business, really driving the necessary dialogue to shift these numbers. And they've been broken up to marry against those five different domains, the first of which is leadership.

Margo Lydon:

In the indicative... Sorry, in the Building Thriving Workplaces Guideline book, you'll see that there is a little grey call out boxes of action areas. Now this is really to help employers, people, leaders, human resource, people and culture, whoever it might be, to actually have some prompters, some idea starters. They are definitely designed to be fairly simple for people to address.

Margo Lydon:

When I think about leadership, to me comes down to what's the conversations we're having? What's the dialogue? What language are we using? How well do we know our people? How really well do we know our people? And therefore, what are the conversations that we're having from the very first time we interact with that person, potentially in an interview situation, onboarding them and through the employee life cycle?

Margo Lydon:

A dear friend of SuperFriend is Mary Ann Baynton from Canada. She's been instrumental in driving a lot of the mentally healthy workplace initiatives across Canada. And we had her here in Australia a couple of years ago and she gave us these three questions, and honestly the probably one of the best gifts I think I've ever received in my life. What these questions are is as a people leader is to be able to have an appropriate conversation to get to know your staff members. We encourage you to think about doing this from the get go. SuperFriend, this is something that we do as part of the onboarding and induction process, is to ask these questions. But there is a caveat. There's a bit of a warning. It's like a three legged stool. If you only ask two, you'll fall off. So you need to ask all three.

Margo Lydon:

The first is what do you need from me as your people leader to come to work and do the job that you've been employed to do that you are so excited to do because you're a new starter? What is it that you need from me to do that job and yet go home at the end of the day with enough energy left over to read to the kids or to take the dog for a walk or to go and play a game of indoor hockey, or whatever it might be that you want to do? What is it that you need from me? And have that conversation. Most people know themselves and how they liked to be managed and led pretty well. And if you start with that, it's a great opening trust based question.

Margo Lydon:

The second is about you as the employee. And this is where I think sometimes we fall over a little bit expecting workplace mental health is the responsibility of the CEO and the leadership team. It's got nothing to do with me. Well, this is an opportunity to actually balance that out. Because if I turn up for work and I haven't slept, I'm rude, I'm demonstrating all of the things we've heard about this morning about incivility, then I'm not participating in my contract of going to work in a thriving and mentally healthy workplace. So the second one is about what are you going to do to look after you and promote your own mental health. And if you don't know how to strengthen your own mental health, well there's is a very, very good question and a good discussion to have. If I was to run around this room, or any of the people on the video, and ask you how do you strengthen your mental health, we'll get a myriad of different answers. For me it's natural light, it's nature, it's coffee in the morning. There's a range of different things that I need that's really good for my mental health. But the number one thing is sleep.

Margo Lydon:

So what is it you're going to do to promote your own or strengthen your own mental health is the second question. And then the third one, and obviously you take notes and you listen and you probe and you seek further answers, the third one is around how would you like me to communicate with you if I notice that things aren't going so great. And then what? And then what? And you're writing it all down. And then what? So you continue to dig and dig and dig and dig. This is so important that you say and you find out how they want you to approach them. Some people want an email. Some people want face to face conversation behind closed doors. Some people want you to say, 'I need to have a conversation with you. Let's set up a time,' so they have time to reflect and be prepared for that conversation. Different people need different things, so have an understanding about what your people actually need. They are great questions and I encourage you to trial them out. I'd love to hear how they go.

Margo Lydon:

Practical ideas. If anyone is not familiar with the VIA or V-I-A character strengths, free website, Martin Seligman's been involved, it's absolutely fantastic. There's 24 character strengths. You can't go wrong. They're all strengths. They're all great. We know humans, when they're able to use their strengths and their talents, they bring their better selves to work. If we understood what those strengths and talents were, we'd get much better engagement and the opportunity to have great conversations.

Margo Lydon:

We've also heard about the positivity ratios today. These positivity ratios of Barbara Fredrickson, three to one is within a normal workplace environment. You throw in organisational restructure, any major change, huge deadlines or work pressures, you throw in anything like that over the top, three to one is not going to cut it. Those numbers need to go up substantially, and we saw that in Joe's presentation earlier.

Margo Lydon:

Aligning purpose and meaning. We talk at SuperFriend a lot about having a shared vision and really bringing that shared vision together through a co-design and co-creation. So how do we create together what the shared of a particular project that we'll be working on? How do we work together for a shared vision with our partners? And you work at that and create that together. You get buy in, you get engagement and you end up with, I think, a much better outcome.

Margo Lydon:

Dealing with change is a standard these days. I think change is the new normal. We've got to recognise that, as organisations, we're going to be leading our people through change constantly. Big changes or small changes, but it will be constant. So how do we use some of the positives of the sciences, of the strengths based approaches and the co-design, co-creation methodologies, to really lead those systems of change? And that's about talking to people as transparently as you possibly can and helping them really understand about how to change together.

Margo Lydon:

And from our friend Mary Ann Baynton and the work that she's done in Canada, she's again generously given SuperFriend the opportunity to promote this resource, which is on a collaboration website, which I've left on the slides here, which you'll be given. So this is another practical tool. It's also a favourite of mine and the opportunities in here for people leaders to be able to utilise this range of activities to help foster and develop those conversations. So when you don't know how to start the conversation, there's some practical guidance there. But the one I love the most is mistake meetings. It needs to be led by the leader, but it's about vulnerability and talking about, 'Hey, I'm not perfect. I've made massive mistakes. Let's talk about them and unpack them and share those together.'

Margo Lydon:

In the connectedness area, this is really about how we can bring people together, sense of community, sense of belonging, it's the best protector for our mental health. So we really need to have that strong sense of belonging and connectedness. There are many different ways that we can do that from how we start our meetings. Do we engage in people? We had a conversation in the break about video con, and sometimes when you're on a VC or a telecon you're straight into the meeting and the agenda and you don't necessarily stop and say, 'Hey guys, how are you going? How's your weekend? What's everyone up to?' So I think it's those new normals that we need to create. When technology is an enabler, how do we actually go about creating that?

Margo Lydon:

Bringing workers from different teams together. I mean, it sounds simple and it really is, but we need as leaders to be able to facilitate more of this so that we get greater diversity and inclusion, we get greater co-design and that sense of belonging and connectedness. I was talking to a CEO colleague yesterday and they have recently moved their organisation, and rather than moving an intact team and the teams sitting together, they've mixed everybody up over the floor. So it has created this sense of connectedness that's quite different to when you're sitting in an intact team. No, that's not going to work for everybody, but it's a certainly a thought starter.

Margo Lydon:

Some practical ideas is finding those positive energisers in your organisation. We all know them. They're the sort of people you want to hang out with, they've got great energy, they typically love what they do. They will typically have answered strongly agree, because that's their sort of person, to the indicators of a thriving workplace. And putting those people into key projects to attract others and foster cultural changes that way.

Margo Lydon:

Engaging discussions around community, and I think we've got to look at community as a much broader lens than what we currently look at community inside a workplace. We had a conversation starter inside SuperFriend a little while ago about community and the opportunities of what do I define community compared to others. So it's a great, easy way to do that.

Margo Lydon:

Policy in action, and I've underscore the in action part of it because I think it's really important that we don't just have them written down on a piece of paper, but we actually see them. One of the great examples I've ever seen of this or heard of this is PWC has a great program called Green Light to Talk. And essentially it's partners across the PWC network sharing their own lived experience of mental health conditions that they've had. More importantly, they also talk about how did PWC support them. Now that to me is policy in action and that's about stay at work action, that's about return to work action and how do we tell those stories and help people connect to those policies in action.

Margo Lydon:

I think the other opportunity here, and back to the integrated approach, is rather than have a mental health policy that sits out here on its own, how do you take your entire policy suite, with the glasses of mental health and wellbeing of your people, and review all of your policies? So your travel policy, are you expecting people to get back to work after travelling all day the day before and flying in at seven, eight, nine o'clock at night and to be at an eight o'clock meeting the following morning? What are the expectations and the normals going on in your organisation, and how do you have an integrated approach to your mental health and wellbeing policies?

Margo Lydon:

I'm a firm believer of co-design and co-creation. I think if you don't have the right people around the table and that being a cross section, you're not going to get the very best results that you need for your business. So looking at how you refresh your policies with your staff will be a really incredible thing. And as I said, sharing those positive stories is really important.

Margo Lydon:

In the capability area, this is about how do you build the skills and the confidence of people to be able to have the appropriate conversations at work. So this is building leadership capability. If you're a small organisation or your resources are limited, this is your best bang for buck. If your people leaders don't know how to lean in, recognise the early warning signs of deteriorating mental health and be able to help somebody, then it's really going to be a very dire situation. So I'd really encourage you to think about the type of training you need and the training provider. There is a lot of providers out there, many are doing great work, but it may not be the right fit for what you actually need. So again, a co-design process can be really helpful.

Margo Lydon:

Leading with compassion and building coaching capability. Really mindful that we've got some skill bases here that will really help people to be able to have the conversations that we've heard Joe talk about peer-to-peer. Very, very important in the capability set.

Margo Lydon:

And culture, which is the last one. So what we've determined here is that alignment to the team objectives or the organisational strategic objectives and what does my role feel and fit to those objectives, how do we have conversations before we even get going on a particular project? Where does this project fit into our strategic organisational objectives? Where does this team fit in delivering to that? Where does my role in that team fit? And really helping people join the dots. Sometimes we think, 'Oh, it's pretty obvious,' but it might not be. And having a conversation and a dialogue about it can be really important.

Margo Lydon:

Likewise on the values and behaviours. This is about seeing behaviours. Are your values in action? What you walk past is what you say is okay. And we've heard that this morning that that's actually not okay. So thinking about what are the values of your organisation and how do you convert that into what's great behaviours you want to see and reward, as well as what are the behaviours you actually need to call on and call up.

Margo Lydon:

Co-create, co-design. Sorry for the thing running through, but I love it. I think that is the game changer for business. I think it is the why that we create thriving workplaces, and effectively supporting people through change and role modelling and rewarding people as we go.

Margo Lydon:

So if we're going to be running any change processes which are happening all the time and creating and building a thriving workplace, what are the steps? Now, none of this will be new to you, I absolutely know. But it's a reinforcement of the fact we need to have leadership buy in. We know it's a single success factor associated with engaged workplaces and building thriving workplaces. So your leaders need to walk the talk. They need to be on board. How you get them on board is going to be different for every organisation, but it is critical.

Margo Lydon:

Diagnose and determine the priorities for change. You can't do it all. Think about what have you already got, where are you at in a maturity scale of what you've already got. And that's really, really helpful, because it helps to prioritise where those gaps are and where those opportunities are. There's also an organisation we've done a little bit of work with as well, who spent a year promoting just communicating what they already had in place. They did nothing new. Nothing new. But they took what they had in place and they promoted it, and what they saw was their worker's comp premium come down over time, what they saw was increased engagement, reduction in presenteeism and absenteeism and the like. So you don't necessarily need to spend an enormous amount of money.

Margo Lydon:

Agree the scope and implement positive workplace practices. Again, have a conversation. What are positive practices in our workplace? What does that look like and feel like? Co-create initiatives to build thriving workplaces and then measure, report, review is a really important process so that you can continue to plan that continuous improvement cycle. It's invaluable for workplaces to be able to measure what you're currently doing. It's no surprise that workplace mental health is a really hard thing to measure. We're trying to measure something that perhaps didn't happen. In some cases we're trying to measure things like, well how did I feel yesterday to how do I feel tomorrow or in a months time or as a result of a particular interventional program. So having a think about what's your evaluation framework from the beginning in the design of the intervention is a really smart way to do it.

Speaker 2:

We do have about 10 minutes or so for questions, so a fantastic opportunity for any questions for Margo. Any questions first here in Canberra? Colleagues in front of me at the moment. Not so much. All quiet. Gretchen?

Gretchen:

Adelaide.

Speaker 2:

Adelaide.

Margo Lydon:

Adelaide.

Speaker 2:

Over to you Adelaide.

Tom:

Yeah, thank you. It's Tom in Adelaide. Question from a colleague actually who just had to leave. It was in relation to the comment you made about Canada and Australia being best globally for mentally healthy workplaces, where that statement comes from.

Margo Lydon:

So great question, thanks Tom. So it really comes from when we're in an international setting and looking at what different countries around the world are doing. I think the reason that Australia and Canada are so close to the top... and the UK is doing great work, there are other pockets of great work that are happening, but the reason that Canada and Australia is ahead is because we typically take a whole of nation approach and we've got some foundational elements to the way that we work, such as our work health and safety legislation here in this country. I think in Canada they, a number of years ago, released the psychological safety standards, colloquially referred to as the standards. That's the first time ever a country has had a national approach, bless you, a national approach of psychological safety from a voluntary perspective, particularly focused on mental health and wellbeing.

Margo Lydon:

So there are certainly great examples happening around the world, but I do think when you're sitting alongside even some of the Scandinavian countries where you think they should be doing it great, because of cultural reasons or other reasons we typically are able to demonstrate we're doing things a little bit better. And they're learning from us, which is great.

Tom:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Over to Melbourne. I've got a question in Melbourne.

Margo Lydon:

Hello, hometown. Hello?

Speaker 2:

Melbourne, question?

Speaker 5:

[crosstalk 00:30:16] just accidentally [inaudible 00:30:16].

Speaker 2:

Have we lost Melbourne, have we? Oh, Melbourne is back. Melbourne, over to you.

Speaker 6:

Hi there. Sorry about that. That was not pressing the mute button. You talked about the importance of positivity and how in times of stress or change that you needed to up that ratio. Is it one of the things where we're looking at tailoring to our different individuals in our workplace that if we know someone's going through particular challenges that we actually have to be conscious about the net positivity ratio to individuals at different times?

Margo Lydon:

Look, absolutely. I think that's a really great point, is that when we step back an organisation is made up of individuals and we're not all going to be on the same point in our own mental health, which is different to illness, but we're not going to be on that same trajectory at any one time. So there will be people who will be experiencing, either outside of work or inside of work, some challenges. And recognising that if you can take a more positive and supportive approach and spend time in understanding what you could be doing in addition to what normally you're doing to support them, the better it's going to be.

Margo Lydon:

And likewise with a team. There are some teams at various times in a business cycle that will be under the slammer for getting things done, hitting those deadlines, getting things out the door. You know, you take a major conference inside Comcare and the events team, I'm sure Gretchen, your team gets that pressure as the event gets closer. So how do we take a more positive approach in recognising where those organisations, as individuals as well as teams as well as the whole organisation, is?

Speaker 2:

Any questions here in Canberra? I'll just do a check. Yup, there's a question just coming now.

Speaker 7:

So these question feels maybe a bit risky or a bit scary-

Margo Lydon:

Go for it.

Speaker 7:

... and it's sort of to all of the presenters, because as I was listening and looking at the stats and the data, I was reflecting on some of the challenges that we have in public administration, which is that we sometimes appear to be a bit of a scapegoat for some of the social problems that we have because we're intersecting with those problems. And it appears hat the media is quite fond of letting the public service know that it's not doing such a great job, and sometimes our political masters at both levels and across the various sides of the house may not act in the most civil manner towards the public sector.

Speaker 7:

If you talk to the person in the pub, on the street, the clap and bus, they don't always have the most positive view of the public sector. So there's a degree, I think, of incivility that often happens towards public administration.

Speaker 7:

So I'm just wondering as I was listening to the speakers about that leap of faith to a degree, or trust that leaders need to have to take a step in and embrace some of these things and acting towards civility, is there any advice or thoughts on how to be defensible in doing some of these things? To have something that's robust that you can stand up and when you come under that scrutiny to still stand up and say, 'This has value, this is important, et cetera.'

Margo Lydon:

I would share with you that as an organisation, a workplace mental health organisation that's funded by life insurance, which are not the most favoured organisations either on the planet, and working with the superannuation industry, which is an industry that doesn't have a huge engagement until you probably hit about the age of 45 to 50 and you go, 'Oh, hang on, retirement's just there. What's my balance?', a lot of what you have said resonates into other industries as well. We've just come off the back of a Royal Commission into the banking and financial services industry, which was not great at all. And I think what it is to me is that we've got to start with our own backyard and we've got to start with building trust in our own workforce to know that the job that they are doing, the contribution that they are making, is making the right sort of difference.

Margo Lydon:

And I think when you're able to harness that as a team in the first instance and then as a broader organisation and stand up and be proud of the work that you're doing, it does make leaning into those situations with the media or public scrutiny a lot harder. The Group Life Insurers is an example in the insurance space. So why they're called group is that they insure the group of members that are within a superannuation fund. You know, they're paying claims above 92% every year. We never hear that on the front page of the newspaper or the 7:30 report or wherever it might be. Yet they're doing great work and they're getting people back to work. They're getting people back to wellness and functioning and life, as are our fabulous health insurers around the country.

Margo Lydon:

So we typically, as humans, like to focus in on the negative and that's why negativity sells, versus focusing in on the positive. However, inside your own organisation you think about the positive stories that you hear. You know, Karen shared with us beautifully parts of her own personal story and her own journey and the positive effect. I don't know about you, but I sat there with goosebumps. You can't help not get engaged and feel that stuff. So starting within your own organisation, your own team, starting those dialogues and sharing those, I think, is a really, really great way to build a bit of a resilient force field around you so that when the mud does get flipped your way, it doesn't actually stick.

Speaker 2:

Mm, great question.

Margo Lydon:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Any states at the moment? Anyone else from here in Canberra at the moment?

Speaker 2:

Just while people are thinking, Margo, I was going to ask you what's the best bang for your buck, and you actually answered it while you were talking, which was leadership. You said leadership, if you're going to invest anywhere in all of those dimensions that you talked about, invest in leadership and leadership's ability to talk about this, to be aware of it, to understand it. And then you made a comment which I thought was really insightful, which is leaders need to get on board but how you get them on board will differ in different organisations. And I think some of us might work in organisations where leaders are absolutely on board, get it, want to contribute; others of us will probably work or have worked in places where that's not the case. Do you have any thoughts about that?

Margo Lydon:

Absolutely. So I'll just qualify leaders. I talk about leaders as all people leaders. So this isn't just leaders as the top of the organisation, this is leader, Jill, throughout the entire organisation. They're going to be the first people to pick up those early warning signs when they eyeball you every day, either via Skype or in person. They'll pick up the early warning signs.

Margo Lydon:

I think by getting leaders on board you need to understand the strengths of your own leader and you need to understand how do they like to receive information. There are people who are visual, there are people who like to see the numbers and the statistics and will absolutely see when you put in front of them a business plan or a business case for this, that those numbers stack up. So I think it's about thinking about who your leader is, how have you got something tricky and difficult across the line previously with them, how do you need to present that, and what is the rallying of the troops and the building of your positive energisers across the organisation that you can be demonstrating to those leaders that this is a movement that they need to be getting on board with?

Margo Lydon:

I do also believe that organisations who do not address creating a mentally healthy workplaces will not be here in the next decade. This is the next wave. It's coming. People are talking about it. They know it's making a difference. I know within the Comcare stats, as in within the life insurance stats, mental illness claims are the ones that are going up. They're the hardest to manage, they're typically the most costly to manage. We've got some really great indicators as to why an employer needs to get onboard and yeah, invest in their own people and their people leaders and their own culture.

Margo Lydon:

I think the other opportunity is to look for the influencers. If it's at a CEO level or a senior leader, the influences outside their organisation. So the indicators of a thriving workplace, 40 indicators, we're turning that into a tool. And the reason we're turning that into a tool is that yes, it's going to be fascinating for an organisation to run this out as not an engagement survey, because it's not that, but as a survey across their own organisation. But the kicker will be when they can compare themselves competitively with other similar organisations in their industry, and that's where we see is a great lever for those perhaps laggards who might take a little bit too long to get on board this bus that's already taken off.

Speaker 2:

That's terrific. Thanks a lot Margo. Margo, we're out of time, unfortunately, for questions. Really appreciate the insights you've given us. Could you join with me in thanking Margo?

Margo Lydon:

Thank you. Thank you.

Page last reviewed: 15 March 2020
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Date printed 24 Sep 2021

https://www.comcare.gov.au/about/forms-publications/transcriptions/building-thriving-workplaces-video-transcript