Character cultures are psychologically healthier workplaces

 Apr 11, 2017 3:00 PM

If your organization is invested in having productive employees who can realize their potential and contribute fully to organizational success, then their mental health is of paramount importance.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental health problems and illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion (2011) in lost productivity from absenteeism, ‘presenteeism’ and turnover.

What would it take to make your organization a psychologically healthier workplace?

How can your organization create and sustain a culture (attitudes, values, and beliefs) that promotes a stronger concern for employee mental health?

The Canadian Mental Health Association suggests eight strategies that employers can use to encourage positive mental health. We’ve aligned their strategies against our Character Culture Model (Pillars and Values) and added some action steps you can use to help improve psychological health in your organization:

Character Culture Pillars: What to do and Why to do it

  1. Create Clarity: Ensure that duties and responsibilities are clearly defined – doing so will alleviate stress and confusion, while keeping people focused on what is most important.
  2. Commit to Accountability: Hold people accountable, but also make sure that workloads are managed fairly and work/life integration is highlighted as a success factor.
  3. Coach for Performance: Provide ongoing feedback and encourage continuous learning to maximize individual potential as well as organizational performance.
  4. Cultivate Collegiality: Ensure that your workplace is one where people feel safe, engaged, and valued. Solicit employee feedback to find out how your workplace can promote this.
  5. Collaborate for Results: Promote a participatory culture where employees at all levels are encouraged to contribute to planning and decision making, and are rewarded for their ideas.

Character Culture Values: How to do it

  1. Respect: Encourage dignified, positive, and inclusive behaviours where people feel respected and are respectful. Consider having conflict resolution practices in place.
  2. Integrity: Create a culture where doing the ‘right’ things and demonstrating honesty, responsibility, fairness, and consistency is the standard – these behaviours will provide stronger emotional support for employees at all levels.
  3. Compassion: Develop organization-wide skill at active listening and showing empathy so that employees will feel cared for and acknowledged.
  4. Courage: Encourage people to speak up and openly express themselves – doing so will help people feel excited to rise up to challenges and will build resiliency.

At the Centre for Character Leadership, we’re passionate about helping organizations create cultures where employees can realize their potential and contribute fully to organizational success – key ingredients for improving employee mental health.

Contact me if you would like more strategies for improving the psychological health of your organization. We would also love to hear what’s working in your organization.


Kathleen Redmond, MCC
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Kathleen Redmond

Kathleen Redmond is the Founder of the Centre for Character Leadership. She is certified Master Certified Coach (International Coach Federation), an author and Adjunct Professor of the University of Guelph’s MA Leadership Program.



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