The measuring of culture creates debate

Today, Siobhan McHale, Head of HR at Dulux posted a comment and video on LinkedIn about measuring cultural change.  She introduces her post with:

“Can culture be measured? In my view it can and should be measured – in the same way as any other business activity that’s important to your success.”

The responses have been speedy and this conversation is likely to continue for sometime as McHale is monitoring the comments, some of which dispute McHale’s position.

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Fels sets the scene for inquiries into workplace mental health

Earlier this week former chair of the Australian Government’s National Mental Health Commission, Allan Fels (pictured right) addressed a lunch hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.  The topicality of his presentation stemmed from two major inquiries into mental health – one by the Federal Government and undertaken by the Productivity Commission (PC), the other is a Royal Commission from the Victorian Government.  The breadth of the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the PC inquiry has generated a very broad level of interest across the social spectrum.  The Royal Commission ToR are yet to be released.

Fels acknowledged the role that workplaces have in addressing mental health

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Productivity Commission sets stage for inquiry into mental health

The Australian Government has released the terms of reference into its Productivity Commission inquiry into mental health.  The inquiry has broad aims that clearly include occupational health and safety (OHS) and may set some evidence challenges for some of those in the workplace wellbeing sector:

“It will look at how governments across Australia, employers, professional and community groups in healthcare, education, employment, social services, housing and justice can contribute to improving mental health for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.” (emphasis added)

The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg MP has written that

“the Commission should consider the role of mental health in supporting economic participation, enhancing productivity and economic growth.”

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Misunderstanding sleep – Part 1

On the corner of Lygon and Victoria Streets in Melbourne is a monument to the 8 Hour Day.  This represents a social structure of work that equates to

  • Eight hours of work,
  • Eight hours of recreation,
  • Eight hours of sleep,

The concept started in Australia in the mid-1800s and was intended to reduce exploitation and abuse of workers, many of whom were children.

The intent was to establish, what we would now call, a work/life balance structure with the recognition that work is required to earn a living, sleep is required to rejuvenate the body, preparing it for work, and recreation was social time, time with one’s family, exercise, all sorts of personal and social activities.

Today that structure is an “ideal” rather than a reality. 

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The systemic causes of poor mental health may get long-awaited attention

Source: istockphoto

Australia’s national government has announced an inquiry into mental health to be conducted by the Productivity Commission.  The Victorian Government has promised a Royal Commission into Mental Health as part of its election pledge. New South Wales has a five-year Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy. All of these initiatives are being applauded by the mental health advocates but two of them have yet to specify their terms of reference or their timelines for delivery, making it difficult to determine what role workplaces, workers and employers will have.

There is also a political risk that community expectations or the evidence base changes during the delivery period.  Workplace mental health seems particularly susceptible to this risk at the moment.

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