Knowing the psychosocial factors is a great first step in fostering a mentally healthy workplace. As defined by Guarding Minds @ Work, “Psychosocial factors are elements that impact employees’ psychological response to work and work conditions, potentially causing psychological health problems.”
Below is a summary of each factor provided by Guarding Minds @ Work with a link to more details and a short video explanation for each.
Factor 1: Psychological Support
A work environment where coworkers and supervisors are supportive of employees’ psychological and mental health concerns, and respond appropriately as needed. The more employees feel they have psychological support, the greater their job attachment, job commitment, job satisfaction, job involvement, work mood, desire to remain with the organization and job performance.
Factor 2: Organizational Culture
The degree to which a work environment is characterized by trust, honesty and fairness. Organizational trust is imperative for any positive and productive social processes within any workplace. Trust is a predictor of cooperative behavior, organizational citizenship behaviors, organizational commitment and employee loyalty – all of which in turn help retain and attract employees.
How can organization support be improved?
Factor 3: Clear Leadership & Expectations
A work environment where there is effective leadership and support that helps employees know what they need to do, how their work contributes to the organization, and whether there are impeding changes. Effective leadership increases employee morale, resiliency and trust, and decreases employee frustration and conflict.
Factor 4: Civility & Respect
A work environment where employees are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with customers, clients and the public. A civil and respectful workplace is related to greater job satisfaction, greater perceptions of fairness, a more positive attitude, improved morale, better teamwork, greater interest in personal development, engagement in problem resolution, enhanced supervisor-staff relationships, and reduction in sick leave and turnover.
Factor 5: Psychological Competencies & Requirements
A work environment where there is a good fit between employees’ interpersonal and emotional competencies and the requirements of the position they hold. This is associated with fewer somatic health complaints, lower levels of depression, greater self-esteem, and a more positive self-concept.
Factor 6: Growth & Development
A work environment where employees receive encouragement and support in the development of their interpersonal, emotional and job skills. Employee development increases goal commitment, organizational commitment and job satisfaction.
Such workplaces provide a range of internal and external opportunities for employees to build their repertoire of competencies, which will not only help their current jobs, but also prepare them for possible future positions.
Factor 7: Recognition & Reward
A work environment where there is appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of employees’ efforts in a fair and timely manner. Recognition and reward motivates employees, fuels their desire to excel, builds their self-esteem, encourages employees to exceed expectations, and enhances team success.
This includes appropriate and regular financial compensation, as well as employee or team celebrations, recognition of years served, and/or milestones reached.
Factor 8: Involvement & Influence
A work environment where employees are included in discussions about how their work is done and how important decisions are made. When employees feel they have meaningful input into their work they are more likely to be engaged, to have higher morale, and to take pride in their organization.
Factor 9: Workload Management
A work environment where tasks and responsibilities can be accomplished successfully within the time available. This is the psychosocial factor that many working Canadians describe as being the biggest workplace stressor. Workload management is important because there is a unique relationship between job demands, intellectual demands and job satisfaction. Even where there are high demands, if employees also have high decision-making ability, they will be able to thrive.
Factor 10: Engagement
A work environment where employees feel connected to their work and are motivated to do their job well. This results in higher productivity and for the employee and higher profitability for the organization. In addition to this, employee engagement is related to greater customer satisfaction, enhanced task performance, greater morale and greater motivation.
Factor 11: Balance
A work environment where there is recognition of the need for balance between the demands of work, family and personal life. A healthy work-life balance makes employees feel valued and happier both at work and at home. Balance reduced stress and the possibility that home issues will spill over into work, or vice versa.
Factor 12: Psychological Protection
A work environment where employees’ psychological safety is ensured. This is demonstrated when workers feel able to put themselves on the line, ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes and problems, or propose a new idea without fearing negative consequences. When employees are psychologically protected they demonstrate greater job satisfaction, enhances team learning behavior and improved performance.
Factor 13: Protection of Physical Safety
A work environment where management takes appropriate action to protect the psychical safety of employees. Employees who perceive the workplace as protective of physical safety will feel more secure and engaged at work. Research has shown that when employees have higher levels of confidence in safety protection at work, they experience lower rates of psychological distress and mental health problems.
Now that you have a good understanding of the 13 Psychosocial factors for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, we suggest that you conduct the Guarding Minds @ Work Organizational Review and/or the Guarding Minds @ Work Survey and review the results. From this, you will identify which factors are an area of concern or relative strength for your organization. It is important to discuss the findings with employees to gain a further understanding of the results and to obtain input into possible interventions.