Fifty Billion Dollars is a LOT of money. Just imagine the things you could do with even a fraction of that money. The immediate things that come to mind include paying off the mortgage, setting up trust funds for the kids to cover college expenses, take a long extended vacation and travel the world. Of course, then there is a long list of others we could help, our families, friends, organizations that build knowledge in science, health, wellness. So may possibilities. There is a lot of power in 50 billion dollars.
Sadly, this is not a lottery and there are no tickets for sale. Fifty billion dollars is the annual cost of mental health illness in Canada, and this value is only estimated to grow.
Organizations can complete an environmental scan to identify where their existing expenses are in relation to psychological health and safety. Areas to review include:
- Absenteeism and presenteeism – lost productivity
- Turnover, increased hiring, onboarding and training costs
- Short and long-term disability
- Worker’s Compensation claims
- Benefit utilization rates and Employee assistance program use
- Grievances and workplace conflict
- Personal effects related to stress, injury, safety violations
- Legal costs for human rights violations
Workplace incivility (aka bullying) is well documented in research as a major contributing factor impacting psychological health. Croft and Cash (2012) summarized four major contributing factors to the ongoing prevalence of bullying in the workplace: budget cuts resulting in an increased workload, underdeveloped interpersonal skills, lack of management skills, and the hierarchal nature of nursing fostering an oppressed culture.
It is also well documented that leadership training and development of communication skills have improved workplace satisfaction and retention. Employers can no longer afford to ignore the impacts of conflict in the workplace. Building psychologically safe environments are not only necessary, but it is achievable.
Maybe it is time we talk.
Tammy Dunnett is a communication specialist, speaker, and strategist. She is available for one on one mentoring, coaching, workshops, keynotes.