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How can organisations help employees thrive? The development of guidelines for promoting positive mental health at work

Lauren J. Davenport (Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Amanda F. Allisey (Faculty of Business and Law, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Kathryn M. Page (Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Anthony D. LaMontagne (Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Nicola J. Reavley (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Publication date: 7 November 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Benefits of positive mental health have been demonstrated across work and non-work domains. Individuals reporting positive mental health experience better work performance, better social relationships and better physical health. Additionally, positive work environments can contribute to employee mental health. The purpose of this paper is to develop “expert” consensus regarding practical, actionable strategies that organisations can implement to promote positive mental health in the workplace.

Design/methodology/approach

A Delphi consensus method was used to establish expert consensus on strategies to promote positive workplace mental health. A 278-item questionnaire was developed and strategies were rated over three survey rounds by two panels comprising 36 workplace mental health practitioners and 36 employer representatives and employees (27 and 9, respectively), employees with experience of promoting positive mental health and well-being in the workplace (total – 72 panellists).

Findings

In total, 220/278 strategies were rated as essential or important by at least 80 per cent of both panels. Endorsed strategies covered the topics of: mental health and well-being strategy, work environment that promotes positive mental health, positive leadership styles, effective communication, designing jobs for positive mental health, recruitment and selection, supporting and developing employees, work-life balance, and positive mental health and well-being initiatives.

Originality/value

The guidelines arising from this study represent expert consensus on what is currently appropriate for promoting positive mental health at work from the perspectives of workplace mental health practitioners, employers and employees, and constitute a resource for translating the growing body of knowledge in this area into policy and practice.

Keywords

Citation

Davenport, L.J., Allisey, A.F., Page, K.M., LaMontagne, A.D. and Reavley, N.J. (2016), "How can organisations help employees thrive? The development of guidelines for promoting positive mental health at work", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 411-427. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-01-2016-0001

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited