Case study: Wesley’s systems approach paying health dividends
Taking an integrated approach to work health and wellbeing is paying big dividends for Wesley Mission Queensland (WMQ), winner of this year’s Safe Work Award for the Best Commitment to Work Health and Wellbeing.
Wesley Mission Queensland’s workforce wellbeing framework Healthy Connected People guides WMQ in fostering a workforce that is empowered and supported to make healthier choices. Healthy Connected People is offered to all workers, including contractors, volunteers and casual employees, supporting a healthy work life balance, as well as making adjustments for the different life stages of employees.
Getting the planning process right has set them up for future growth – original priorities included capturing worker health and psychological wellbeing data, reducing MSDs and claims, and assessing awareness of current programs on offer. Establishing a health and wellbeing coordinator, along with a Recover@Work Advisor and a new injury management hotline procedure, represented an integrated approach in developing strategies targeting health and wellbeing.
Because not all workers can access emails and online surveys, collaboration with local managers and champions was needed to complete surveys and provide feedback. The consultation process served as the basis for the delivery and evaluation phases.
WMQ runs an early intervention treatment program where workers can access up to four free treatments for minor work and non-work-related injury. The program triages employee needs and includes access to mental health practitioners, allied health practitioners, mental health first-aiders and employee assistance services. The injury hotline provides workers with a convenient reporting process to help with medical appointments.
The results have seen a return-to-work rate of 98.5 per cent of injured workers and an increase in no time lost rates of between five and 15 per cent. Workforce Wellbeing Manager Linh Pierson believes one of the main strengths of the program is its collaboration between internal work units to combine their resources to offer education and programs. For example, WMQ’s mental health clinicians work with the Wesley arts team to engage workers in creative and fun ways, increasing participation, worker morale and connectivity.
The program’s other strengths include recruiting external service providers for some services, integrating health, safety and wellbeing into current policies and procedures, and creating purposeful and trusting relationships with all levels of management and workers.
During COVID-19 in 2020, WMQ’s mental health first aid officers were awarded a major industry recognition award, highlighting the commitment WMQ has to its residents, clients, volunteers and staff in creating an environment where everyone feels safe and happy.
Understanding how the organisation operates and building activities into current work processes, such as short 15–30-minute education sessions during shift changeovers in the aged care residences, provides information relevant to both staff and clients.
Moving forward, WMQ’s health and wellbeing program will continue to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders, do regular evaluation to monitor and review, and report outcomes to senior management for their ongoing support.
For further information on WMQ’s Workforce wellbeing program, contact Linh at LPierson@wmq.org.au. For tools and templates to plan, deliver and evaluate a workplace health and wellbeing program, visit our health and wellbeing page.
Information on the other three finalists can be found at 2021 Safe Work and Return to Work Award winners.