Did you know that the average person will spend 90,000 hours or about 1/3 of their entire life at work? Its only common sense then that a happy and unified work environment will perform better than an unhappy and divided one, doesn’t it?
Today a mentally healthy workplace is the second most important factor in our decision to accept a new position, just behind pay! And it makes us more committed to our job and less likely to seek other employment.
Let’s now take a closer look at one of Australia’s largest and most profitable industries… Mining.
Mining is one of the few industries that emerged from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic economic crisis in excellent financial and operational shape (PWC, 2020.) Whilst offering Australians a very rewarding financial incentive, the mining industry is also known for its challenging work conditions such as harsh climates, long hours, isolation, living away from family for extended periods (fly-in, fly-out), and lack of access to mental health support services. (Headsup, 2014.)
It comes as no surprise then that the mining industry is responsible for more than one in five employees experiencing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety and 12.1% of workers reported having a substance abuse condition (PWC, 2014.)
A study by PWC (2014) found the impact of mental health conditions on productivity, participation and compensation claims has been estimated to cost Australian businesses approximately $11 billion a year. More interestingly businesses will experience a return of $2.30 for every $1 invested in initiatives that foster better mental health in the workplace. In the mining industry, the return is even higher – and average of $5.70 for every $1 invested (PWC, 2014.).
We can make a pretty simple assumption from these staggering numbers that it is in the best interests of all businesses (especially the mining industry) to address mental health conditions in the workplace.
So how do we foster a mentally healthy workplace?
Ultimately it comes down to creating a positive workplace culture. Positive team cultures thrive on energetic relationships and connection, promote exceptional team work, empower and inspire one another to grow and provide environments that encourages opportunities to excel. Generally speaking; workplace culture is not something you can change overnight; it is a collective effort of small behavioural changes embraced by a team to create a more pleasant and enjoyable environment. In short, practising a positive and fun team culture in your workplace requires time, commitment and a FUMISH culture.
What is a FUMISH culture you ask?
Based on 25+ years of experience in the industry, the FUMISH theory is purposefully designed and developed to give workplaces the tools they need to create a workplace culture that sets their team up for success. Aimed at re-engaging disconnected workforces the framework provides workplaces with strategies and support to make lasting changes. In simple, a FUMISH culture is the driving force behind a positive team culture. For a positive team culture to create success it must be friendly, understanding, motivating, inspiring, supportive and happy.
The FUMISH theory deep dives into where an organisation fits within each of the frameworks and helps teams develop an implementable action plan that will set any workplace up for positive team culture success.
Practicing a FUMISH culture requires Education, Engagement and Environment (or the 3 E’s).
You will find career growth, opportunity and challenge in many articles by industry professionals and scholars as three leading reasons why employees stay with an organisation.
Staff like to learn to be better at what they do. The more you upskill staff, the better they will perform for you. Thus, regularly educating and training staff will lead to improved performance and a more positive work culture. A fundamental part of improving a team’s culture is to help everyone better understand themselves, the role they play within the team and importantly each other.
Put it into Action
Try a team building workshop: Training and workshops are not just nice to do; they are an absolute necessity, along with team building, that pays for itself many times over in improved performance and business results. Purposefully designed to enhance your team’s performance and build a positive workplace culture, Corporate Team Building Workshops are tailored programs designed to address your team’s learning requirements in a fun and engaging environment. Think education, but without feeling like you’re stuck in a classroom watching the seconds tick by…
Engagement is a vital ingredient in creating a positive workplace culture. Engagement is being involved and invested in the team you are in. It requires an attentive focus and an active willingness to work towards the goals of the team. Imagine having a team of employees that are completely engaged with their role and in the business. Now envision the culture of the organisation with all employees engaged.
Put it into Action
Try a Team Building Program: A well planned and executed team building program will not only lift the energy of your team but allow individuals to experience each other outside of the normal workplace atmosphere whether that be underground or in the office. This creates an environment where employees feel empowered to contribute ideas and thoughts freely, and leaders can effectively relate and communicate to all their staff.
Environment, as the third E in creating a positive workplace culture, relates to how you feel in your workplace. When I refer to workplace, it is the everyday workplace for each individual within your business whether that is an office, a mining site, a vehicle or even online.
Having a positive workplace culture is not all about having fun, it’s providing a friendly and supportive environment that minimises workplace risks related to mental health, supports people with mental health conditions appropriately and prevents discrimination.
Put it into Action
Try a fitness program: Ever tried putting unleaded in a diesel car? Or let your car sit unused for weeks on end? Fun fact, neither of these will make your car operate very well. Similarly, we must treat our bodies and minds well if we want them to operate at their premium. Why not try establishing fitness Fridays? Well, it can be any day you choose but generally speaking, everyone’s spirits are higher on a Friday. Start a group fitness session at lunch time on whatever day you end up choosing. Make sure it’s at a level that can involve everyone regardless of ability and fitness level. Then witness how much fun this will bring!
For many businesses it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to manage a culture, when instead they should be managing the behaviours that shape it—encouraging, discouraging and fostering behaviours that demonstrate the values and norms you want to reinforce in your organisation. Practicing a people first culture and investing in a healthy workplace is a powerful tool to seeing results that impact your bottom line and most importantly a happy and motivated workforce.