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Mental health in construction presentation

Bernie Scully

Presented by: Dr Bernie Scully, who holds a PhD in Psychology and has 15 years experience as a General Manager and National Director of some of the largest and most successful psychology organisations across Australasia.

Run time: 45:46

Download a copy of this podcast (MP3, 21 MB)

Construction work health forum podcast

Presented by: MC - Nigel, Dr Bernie Scully and Luke Gibson



Folks, let's get stuck into the afternoon's proceedings. It is in relation to mental health. We're very lucky to have Dr Bernie Scully here to present for us. He began his working career in the construction industry as a builder's labourer, where he developed an interest for the wellbeing in the construction industry. He now holds a PhD in psychology and has 15 years experience as a general manager and national director of some of the largest and most successful psychology organisations across Australasia. He's managed external wellbeing and trauma response programs for construction and mining and resource organisations at LendLease and Rio Tinto. Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a huge Level 4 found of applause for Dr Bernie Scully.

Dr Bernie Scully:

Thank you. Thank you everyone. Thanks for the invitation to be here. Thanks for everyone turning up to sit and listen to this crazy psychologist talk about a whole lot of workplace stuff. Today – so I want to set some ground rules up front. I'm kind of – the focus of the conversation today is really around how do we focus on mental health in the workforce, imagining the audience being kind of safety, HR; but the focus is always coming through for leaders and everyone else who might be involved. But there's a bit of context. The other bit of context is that I'll talk about guys a lot. I don't want to discard the fact that there's a hell of a lot of good ladies and lots of different groups within the workforce that should be acknowledged.

So what I will talk about today is not specific things. I've been through a number of the sessions today and they've been excellent. Nearly all of them, even though they've had nothing to do with mental health, have mentioned mental health. So there has been reference to particularly suicide, if not mood, if not the impact of food on your mood. A lot of those connections have come through. I will talk a little bit about the stats of that stuff, but I'm not here to talk about suicide. I'm not here to talk about FIFO workforces; while I will make some connections there. What I do want to talk about is how do we get out of that mentality? So we do a lot of what's wrong? Let's try and fix it. That's what male dominated workforces tend to do. They want to get in and – how do I fix the problems. But I think, from my experience working in the industry, it's around how do I – how do we become proactive? How do we become preventative? How do we manage a holistic approach to health in the workplace? Rather than focussing on the negatives. So it's about being holistic, preventative, big picture stuff. It's about Mabo and just the vibe. It will all be in there.

So a bit about myself. Can you hear me when I – people up the back, can you hear me? Excellent. I'm a walker, so I'll warn you about that in the beginning and I'll try not to walk in front of the words as we go along. So thanks for the nice introduction. I have worked for coming up on 20 years in mental health within the workplace environment. A lot of that time has been within larger EAP organisations and also as vice president of EPA, which is kind of the peak body that sits over employee assistance programs. My experience there – so a long time back, what I'd do is I'd turn up with reports. Here's the common things that people are accessing counselling for within your workforce. So I should have also said that the large majority of our customers were construction. We were a Queensland based organisation, but a national EAP provider. So we focussed on how do you deliver good strategies through the construction industry and – I've just lost my train of thought as I've gone through that.

Let me just come back to – before becoming part of the EAP industry, before becoming a director within an EAP organisations, I was actually a chippy. Which was mentioned up front. Which is the reference to from noggins to noggins. Because now having completed my PhD in psychology, which was actually within the emergency services. Very male dominated population. There's a lot of overlap in that stuff as well. So we'll talk about some of that stuff today. I was going to call this session from studs to studs rather than from noggins to noggins, but that would have been a completely different session.

Okay, so the content around today – and I do have a lot of content, so I'll try and move through quickly and I'll slow down when we get to the parts where – but please do keep questions in mind to the end. So what we're going to do is we're going to survey the site. So what is the context? What's the landscape of mental health in construction today? What are the things we need to know about that? What do we need to build? So what is this mentally healthy workplace that everyone seems to be talking about? What does that look like? Bringing it in on budget. So this tends to be the key thing that a lot of leaders come and ask me about. How do we do this in a way that's cost effective? Because economic rationale is such a big driver these days. Ordering the right materials. So how do I get the right advice and how do I find the right resources for delivering what I need to deliver? Choosing the right tools for the job. So what is it that works? So speaking to people with experience; how do we get the right outcomes? What are the things that we focus on? We'll have a bit of a story from someone within the industry that has some good insight into what's the reality of this stuff in practice. I'll also talk a bit about ways to maximise your return on investment towards the end. Over and above your general stuff that you'd focus on.

So we have some general stats here. I imagine that most people know this, or a lot of these. So 25% of the construction industry will experience a mental health condition across a year. So that's a yearly rate. That's 5% more than the general population. So being in the construction industry makes me more at risk of a mental health condition. This second stat – the 20% stressed Australian workers. So that's a general population stat. I couldn't find that within construction specifically. But 20% of a workgroup within any industry – roughly 20% is stressed. And stressed means stressed enough that they could be supported through having a yarn with someone or having a chat with a counsellor or some other intervention. So it's beyond their own coping strategies at this point in time.

One of the big concerns for me, and this won't be a surprise to you guys, is that 50% of people within construction don't actively seek help early. So it tends to be a male trait, although the girls aren't completely off the hook there. But it tends to be that men don't like to admit that there's an issue in the first place and so, therefore, don't go and seek help as soon as they might.

Illicit drug use is at 24%. So 24% of the construction industry engage in illicit drug use. That's second only behind hospitality. Fifteen-point-seven per cent of construction workers are heavy drinkers. That's the highest of all industries. Four-point-two per cent of those people attend while under the influence. So we have an immediate impact on safety when that becomes an issue.

Construction suicides are 200% versus the general population. Which is probably what most people know. I heard some interesting stats just earlier that maybe that's worse in some areas, but better depending on what interventions you're using. Also an old stat, but it's relevant for me – from the Royal Commission into the construction and building industry. About 40% of all death claims were related to suicide. That was research from about eight or nine years ago. So massive impact. I mean, I feel a sense of responsibility as a psychologist and someone who works within the construction industry. But I feel like, for us as a group, we need to stop and say what do we do differently? Because what we're doing at the moment isn't necessarily doing everything that it needs to do.

Looking at those stats, some people come to me and say okay, I believe that all of those stats are true. But there's stats, damn stats and then there's statistics that you see about these kind of things. What they will try and say is that well, there's things about the construction people – people who select into construction that increases their risk. So young males tend to have higher rates of suicide, death by suicide generally. So is it just that we have a whole lot of young males in our population? We have transient workforces. We have isolated workforces. We have all of these things that are risk factors. Is it just the people that work there or is it something about the construction industry that influences this even more? The research would suggest – it doesn't always, but most of the time, it suggests that once you control for all of those things, it's still something about being in the construction industry that increases your risk of mental health challenges, particularly suicidality.

The good side of it though. So here's a stat that is construction industry. I'm not sure if you can see it up the back there, but I'll read it out. So we've got percentage of employees. We've got mentally unhealthy workplaces and mentally healthy workplaces. Percentage of employees who: so the first line is have taken time off work due to anxiety, depression in the past 12 months. In our unhealthy workplace, it's 46%. In our mentally healthy workplace, it's 13%. So we're seeing there there's something about the system that is different. Also, the bean counters in the audience will be thinking wow, that's a big saving just in absenteeism, let alone anything else.

The other question is – so percentage of employees who observed depression in others at their workplace. So mates noticing things in other mates. Fifty-nine per cent in unhealthy workplaces; 39% – and this is one of the threads that I'll try and draw through today's session because I think leaders can – I'm going to make a point that leaders are critical, but culture comes from within. Mates looking after mates; there's a big percentage of mates there who want to look after others, but they don't have the resources and the systems to do that. I think we can achieve a lot by supporting those people. So there's lots of positives, even though there's some obvious challenges in front of our…

Okay, so what I'm going to talk about now is continuing kind of surveying the site; what are the hazards? I'm going to talk through a number of hazards that are kind of common to a lot of workplaces. What I do want to challenge you to do is have a think about how these effect – how these are represented in your workplace. Also, what – how many of them are represented? Because what I find is that, as we go through the list, nearly all of them effect us here in construction, whereas they're more or less in other industries.

So drug and alcohol. We had the previous slide pointing out that drugs and alcohol is an issue. The other thing that I'll do as I go through here is point out that our approach to these challenges is retrospective. We spent a lot of time looking in the rear vision mirror. Once people have already gone downhill, once people are already struggling and we try and pick them up once they're struggling, as opposed to how do we stop this from happening in the first place? So everyone will say well there's [pause] drug and alcohol tests. There's even testing before you get on site. So first of all, that's reactive. So we're saying there's a problem and we need to assess for it. Some people will argue well, that can be preventative because people will be aware that's going to happen and then they'll kind of change their behaviour. But, in fact, the stats suggest they don't. It suggests that they're still turning up to site. In fact, I know of sites where they've stopped testing because they're worried about not having enough employees in various roles. None of that intervention actually says I have someone here with a drug and alcohol issue. How do I change that? They might send them to EAP. But I don't know that's a preventative proactive. That's how do I pick people up once they're struggling.

Bulling and conflict. I know my experience was that – so I was from a – when I was working – so I worked as a chippy. When I was working as a chippy, it was only a small workforce. We probably only had five or six guys that worked on site. We knew each other really well. We got on really well. We enjoyed a beer together. We did all of those things. But when conflict was happening, it was significant conflict. So there'd be fights and things like that happen. That's a big risk factor within our industry. And bullying; that flows through to bullying. Male dominated environments tend to be more aggressive in their management of challenges.

So again, mediation tends to be an option around conflict or performance managing someone. Again, that's after the fact. We've already got this thing happening and now we're trying to fix it up. We don't – when we found that people sawing were getting splinters in their eyes or the boilermakers were getting bits of metal in their eyes, we didn't say let's get really good eye doctors. We said let's put some googles on them and prevent the issue from happening in the first place. So we need a better way of looking at all that stuff.

Domestic violence. If you haven't started thinking about this and you're in a safety management obligations responsibility area within your organisation, then you need to get the reading glasses out and jump into this. Because significant challenge and there's more and more pressure being put on us, as organisations, to resolve some of this stuff or at least have a plan around how do I address this stuff in the workplace. That flows over into the workplace. Even though it's a personal issue; if it's impacting on people at work, then we have a responsibility too, to have a solution.

Fatigue. This is one that's come up in a number of the sessions that I've been to today. So we have FIFO/DIDO workforces. So they're turning up to work tired. The mood and food session before was talking about when people have a poor breakfast, then they get really lethargic later on. Even before they get to work, they're tired because of the environment of getting too work in the first place. The other thing is we have shift work. We also – in our FIFO environments, we have this what seems an important question about how long's the right amount of time? How do you manage people through that? I'll try and come back to that and answer some of the questions about that. Fatigue, we tend to have policies and we tend to encourage people to put their hand up. But again, we don't have a solution for preventing it. We have solutions around how do we deal with it once it's happening.

As I just mentioned, we're getting very close to – so another population where there's a whole lot of suicide represented is our regional and remote farmers, pastoral companies. They're all in this space of being remote and isolated; and a lot of our workers are as well. And the transient workforces. So stability is an important predictor of our sense of control and sense of being able to cope. Chasing work is not conducive to that. So feeling like everything's always changing, the goal posts are always different and I'm doing a different job and I'm reporting to – well, with different people all the time is a challenge. We need to work out how do I become more proactive, more preventative around a lot of this stuff.

Then work related stress. I'm not going to go through all of these, but you can have a read as I speak. Again, I think we could tick most of these ones off. Work related stress is a challenge within construction. From my point of view, it's a challenge because a lot of the workers don't say I'm stressed. They don't say – in fact, they probably don't identify with that. It's once they're feeling like they're breaking down that they think I need to do something about this stuff.

Organisational justice tends to be a key thing within construction environments. Poorly managed relationships, lack of role clarity. With my psychologist hat on, there's two things that create stress in humans. Most people will know about this thing called fight or flight, which is what we call the human stress response. When you get right down to it, there's two things that create stress in humans. That's the feeling that I can't predict what's going to happen or the feeling that I'm not in control of what's happening. So if I feel like I can predict what's going to happen next or if I feel in control of what's going on, I can manage a lot of these situations. But as an organisation, we need to give people the information and the resources to feel those things. That's where a lot of this stuff comes from.

Change has been significant within the construction industry. I don't think we've done very well in managing change. There was a large construction company that I was working with going through – it was bought out and then there was a whole lot of changes that happened as a result of that. We ran every single session you could imagine. We ran sessions from how to communicate with your partner while going through stressful times through to how to communicate at work, how to manage – time manage. How do you manage your own stress? How do you do all of these things. The one session that was wall to wall, packed out, you couldn't get anymore seats was how do I get better sleep. Because all of these fundamental things around stress are what falls away very quickly and sleep is a common indicator that I'm feeling too stressed. But we don't think oh, I'm not sleeping well; I must be stressed. We just think I need to get better sleep. Right? So we need to change the language around a lot of this stuff.

Obligations and responsibilities. So leaders within organisations particularly need to be aware that, even if their organisation isn't doing all the things that they feel that they need to give the resources or knowledge or systems to be able to manage their responsibilities. Even if they don't feel that that's coming through, they're still the one that's culpable. So that's more and more becoming one of the themes that's coming through the litigious environment. So we need to be very aware. Mental health is one of the biggest challenges because, as I'll point out, it's really hard to measure and it's really hard to see. You look at two people and say pick the one who's depressed. Quite often, you're not going to pick the right one. So how do I manage this within a workplace context?

Discrimination is an obvious one. Even down to [long pause] I've got someone who's depressed – and we saw before and we'll see later on that that person probably takes about 30% more days off than someone who's not depressed. So how do I manage that person in the workplace without discriminating against them because of the mental health condition? I want to treat them because of the thing that's going on, but I can't treat them because I don't want to be seen to be treating them differently to how I would treat anyone else.

Work health and safety. We're obliged to provide everyone with a safe workforce. We just went through a list of all of the things that are stressors, that increase the risk of not being safe or having a workplace that doesn't feel comfortable and [long pause] engaging. So I don't feel like I'm turning up to work that is a safe place for me to go.

Privacy is a big challenge, particularly for work health [and] safety. And for leaders, because confidentiality is something around mental health stuff. So generally, if it's a broken leg, Joe doesn't care if people know he's got a broken leg because, first of all, it's obvious and there's no stigma around having a broken leg. But if Joe's feeling depressed, we need to do something about that. We need to support Joe. But I don't really want to tell – Joe doesn't want his manager to know. But his manager's saying to me why is Joe not working very well? How do I get Joe – so we have all of this stuff around privacy where we need to manage people's confidentiality in a positive way. But I think one of the ways of doing that is making it more like a broken leg. So how do we get it on the table so that we're talking about this so that it's part of our general, daily conversations? That flows through to being able to have transparent conversations.

Everyone knows about the fair work.

So this slide is really about we're all different. So have a think about [long pause] how your organisation is different to other organisations. So as an example of that, we've got small construction companies and we've got large construction companies. The rules in this particular example – and I'll flow through to some answers here – but small is usually defined as less than 20 employees and large is more than 200 employees.

The differences, in my experience, both from what I've seen working with organisations through to my own experience working within small construction teams – so small tends to be much more changeable. You can get to the people. You can have a meeting and you can talk about we're going to do things differently this way and we can connect really well. We have personal relationships. There's a lot more trust within smaller environments. However, the impacts of things going wrong are compounded. So if Joe takes a day off work, a tenth of the workforce is not at work today. If we've got a compensation claim, that's a big chunk out of the money that the organisation needs to operate on. So there's very different dynamics.

Whereas large organisations tend to be really good at gap analysis. They tend to have corporate machines that can kind of identify and churn out protocols and what's the best way to do this. In my experience, they're actually, usually pretty good. They're good at identifying the research. They're good at identifying what should be done. But they're not good at communicating through to all of the people. So it doesn't have that personal connection that a small organisation does. Then there becomes this us versus them. So there's head office versus the sites or corporate versus the workers. That breaks down the trust even more. So it's how do we manage around some of that stuff.

The other challenge within large organisations is how do we manage the subbies? How do we manage the contractors? If we're going to set up a mentally healthy workforce, how do we bring them in within that? Or, alternatively, the contractor companies are saying we don't feel like it's clear about how we connect into that larger company. So we need to clarify a lot of that stuff. This needs to flow through and there needs to be a plan not just for the primary employees.

So have a think, at the moment, what percentage of – and I noticed actually one of the sessions today answered this. So some of you will know. What percentage of the construction industry are small, so less than 20, versus large? Do you think that's 60/40, 70/30, 80/20?

So small is – yes. Just about everyone knew what the answer – so 94 for small and 1% for large. So what that tells us is it's all very well for me to stand up here and say we need some broad principles to understand and manage my workforce. But your workforce is going to be very different to the person sitting next to you. Unless it's someone that you've come from work with. Does that make sense? So we need to be very tailored in how we apply a lot of this stuff.

What do we want to build? What is it that is a mentally healthy workplace? So we want to build something that addresses physical, mental, social, spiritual safety. It needs to be about health promotion, prevention and early intervention. Not what are all of the programs that we put people into once they become challenged. Just quickly, a healthy workplace supports and encourages healthy behaviours in its employees. Making healthy choices the easy choices. Where employers and employees work together to support and promote good health. So that's a broad definition. But what I like about that is it's communicating culture. It's saying it's where we're working together. Employers and employees are working together to get the right answers. Rather than let's try and force answers. Probably the key point is the focus within a mentally healthy workplace is on building health, not on curing illness. So it's like being mentally fit.

As I mentioned before, I do a lot of work with the emergency services and military, to some extent. In construction, when we think about male dominated environments, we're actually behind the eight ball a bit because they're doing a lot more in terms of – so I've got mental toughness there as one idea. But there's a number of concepts there around what engages men and how do male dominated environments see resilience. Becoming mentally tough is one of those things. So it's something that I can use to get through the day because it gives me the strategies to do that; that I'm open to listening to. Those other industries become – have apps. There's a whole lot of great preventative resilience stuff that we should be bringing on board.

All right, so bringing it in on budget. ROI; so return on investment, obviously. So it requires a conceptual leap. I need to get from what the bean counters talk to you about each day, which is performance is measured by expenses to budget. So how are you in terms of your budget? Are you coming in on budget? If you are, that's fine. If you're not; you need to cut your costs. That's great if you've got a great idea on how do I cut this plank of wood differently so that we don't have to use as much timber. That's a massive saving and that's fantastic. But we can't say to people let's see if we can get by by using less support or giving you less services to engage with. Because that leaves them with less to get positive outcomes from.

What we need to do is have this rationale that's built around I need to invest in what's going on. So it's not until I invest that reap the rewards. The rewards can be significant. The rewards will come through to this work health safety budget to a small extent. But we will still be spending more than we currently are; but we'll get some of the rewards back to the health and safety budget, probably in terms of reduced compensation claims, reduced long tail claims, reduced turnover and that kind of stuff. But the rewards will actually be in everyone else's budgets because people will be far more productive and engaged and retained, etcetera. Which we'll talk a bit more about.

So there's a conceptual leap. Part of the challenge is that I'm going to talk to you about a whole lot of rationale. What's the argument behind this stuff? But it still requires a philosophy of we just need to build it and then show how it works. It takes that conceptual leap of faith.

So measuring outcomes can be done in lots of different ways. Within organisations, it tends to be around absenteeism, claims, turnover and injuries, [pause] LTIs, I think we were talking about this morning. Feedback participation satisfaction and engagement. This is more to do with once I have the program going. However, in saying this, what we do need is pre measures. So we need to measure ourselves now, before we kind of get into holistic programs. We can also measure the return as a post-measure. There's also psych measures out there, if that's – I mean, that's what I would suggest you measure. But quite often the focus is around the absenteeism and the claims, etcetera. So there's the K10, the PWIQOWL. There's also – the World Health Organisation has one called the WHODAS. I think it's the WHODAS 2.0 which is being used a lot these days, as well.

So dollar return on investment. What we can do here is now measure what are the outcomes of the program and what am I getting back as a result of that? So how is our organisation benefiting from the interventions that we put into place to prevent things from going downhill in the first place? The research says 2.3:10.1 for health and wellbeing programs. So that's dollars. That means for every dollar I spend, even if it's not a great program, I'll get 2.3 dollars back. In fact, it's probably not on message for me up here at the moment, but the research tends to show even having a poor program, you'll at least get your money back on it. So the worst thing we could do is not become preventative.

Health promotion. So we have had this mentioned throughout the day. Awareness stuff. So awareness around mental health challenges and what to do about that and coping strategies. Two-point-three dollars return. Employee assistance programs; there's a big variance there. But as much as $10 return. So that $10, if you're using a $10 return EAP program, is within there. Obviously that's the holistic approach. That's just one small part of what needs to happen.

All right, so we're still on bringing it in on budget, the ROI. I don't know – I'm hoping that most of you are familiar with this website. If you haven't, then I strongly recommend you have a look at it. This is the Heads Up website, obviously. There is a section in there around return on investment tool. So you can put in your demographics and it will spit out this is what your potential return on investment can be. So I did that and I did that – given we've got 94%, I did it with a small organisation within construction. It suggests that we would go from an $11,000 cost down to a $7,000. So there's $4,000 change. This is based on some generic changes that a lot of organisations might make. The return on investment there is 1.39. That's just measuring absenteeism, presenteeism and compensation claims. Assuming people know what presenteeism – so absenteeism is when people aren't at work. Presenteeism is when they do turn up to work but actually they're not very engaged in what they're doing. That can be defined in various ways.

All right, so we've got two business cases. The first business case is around I can reduce costs. In the long run, I can reduce absenteeism and presenteeism. I can reduce lost productivity. We do know, and someone this morning mentioned stats around this – we do know that people in construction will walk away from an employer if they feel like the culture isn't where it needs to be. That's a big explanation for turnover. Turnover is significant. Particularly in FIFO environments. I worked with a company recently where there was 60% turnover within the first six months of bringing on new FIFO workers. So turnover is a massive things, especially if people are judging as soon as they come in based on what the culture of the place is. Physical injury claims. So obviously if people aren't being aware, if people's minds aren't where they need to be and if this was a session about fight or flight or stress responses, we'd talk about reduced concentration, increased distractibility, not really engaging, engaging in more conflict and other things. There's more physical injuries. Your behavioural awareness, behavioural safety stuff that's around a lot – how do we become more aware? Some of the mines are now talking about human potential, human performance theory. And psych injuries. In construction particularly, psych claims tend to be long tail claims. I'm being advised that I need to wind up, but we're going to keep going for a little bit.

Then there's the business case for improving performance. So that needs to be around safety and capability, customer satisfaction. So have a think for yourself; if grumpy Bob's standing in front of your customer or the customer compared to having a happy and content and engaged workforce? That's going to have a big impact. The other important one there is corporate social responsibility. So we all feel good about engaging in that stuff. But you can also tell the bean counters that, actually, we win tenders on the back of having a section on corporate social responsibility. So this stuff is important. And being an employer of choice.

I'll hurry through this one. But basically, this is our depressed person. Research suggests that that depressed person costs us about $10,000 a year in lost days, etcetera. If we have a one hour seminar on awareness around depression in the workplace for 30 people; so let's say it costs about $2,500. If that turns around just one depressed person, then we've got a 200% return on investment. So we've gained a whole lot out of just one awareness session. Not to mention all of the other people who will have some smaller gains. This is stuff that I covered before. So it's a no-brainer. Mentally healthy workplaces reduce costs, increase output, attract and engage and cover off our obligations.

What are the right materials? So there's a number of websites that give us great information. WorkCover Queensland has a great site where a lot of the stuff for today is provided as well. The Heads Up one that I've referenced already. Beyond Blue has a national workplace program. It's important to remember that these are holistic programs. We're going to need to get in there and get advice on what do I need to do. Mates In Construction has some great research. Is there a comment there? No.

All right, so the keys are we need to get executive buy in. The thing for executive buy in is the argument around return on investment and making our business case. That needs to become a culture. So we had a good speaker this morning talking about has to come from the CEO that this stuff is important. We've got leadership engagement. The way we achieve that is by talking about their obligations, the increase in productivity, the increase in engagement and retention. That needs to be a culture. So leadership culture is one of the key aspects. Employee engagement. We achieve that through increasing awareness and accessibility of services. We achieve that through listening to them. So it needs to be an ongoing process. We achieve that tailing through continuing to listen. We need to deliver what we say. So don't say you'll get access to services tomorrow when you won't actually. Say what you mean and mean what you say. And manage the confidentiality stuff.

The actions at the leadership level are education. So they need to understand it better than you do, just about. Because the leader is central to all of this. Also training in how to recognise, respond and refer. So how do I recognise mental health challenges in the workplace? How do I respond to that when I'm in front of someone? How do I refer – where would I refer them onto? How do I have that conversation without calling them crazy? Employees need education in what's normal, what supports and services there are, etcetera.

Your measurement and feedback, which we've already covered. That needs to go back to every level. So employees need to see that this is important. Leaders need to understand that this is making a difference, so I need to keep reinvesting and we need to get more in the next budget for it. So we need to keep feeding it back to the decision-makers.

I've covered all of these dot points. This tends to be the big challenge. Right? So in our minds, half the workforce think talking about my health and wellbeing is like an involuntary enema that they have to get. In fact, one of the challenges for me is that I felt that as well. I thought, based on my own experience, we're never going to change the attitudes. But if we're able to get in at the culture level – so the way that we talk about this each day, getting leaders to engage in this stuff each day – I've seen the change that happens. So key predictors of success are around active engagement, confident and comfortable leadership and the perception of leadership support.

All right, so just quickly – and I'm sorry because I've gone longer than I needed to. But I welcome onto the stage Luke Gibson. So Luke is one of the connectors with Mates In Construction. He's got fantastic stories and examples. He's just come from the worksite. He was covered in muck just before he came here. So thank you for your time.

Luke Gibson:

No worries. Hey ladies and gentlemen. How are you? I've just been asked to sort of stand up here and speak on what a connector is and how I became a connector. So a connector isn't like a welder or someone. A connector is someone, through Mates In Construction, who we speak with other workers on site; boys, girls, even staff, management. Everyone at each different level. Being a connector's helped no end on site, from what I've seen and through the time. That stigma of that macho, harden up sort of attitude coming through the workforce, as growing up. I do have a lot more guys, even in their 40s and 50s approaching me now – me and other connectors on site and being able to open up and explain. That way, we can get them some assistance or help them out. A lot of the time, it's just about them sometimes just coming up and being able to talk to you about any issues they've got. I mean, from fatigue right through to obviously being tired and things like that on the job. Alcohol, relationship issues. A whole pile of issues that go on that a lot of people aren't aware of all the time. So they feel that they can come up to us and open up. I've noticed that more and more and more throughout the workforce that this is taking place. It's a great thing to see. It's also keeping the guys in work which, in turn, turns out better for the business, I'd say. Yeah.

Dr Bernie Scully:

Fantastic. Thank you for that. Thanks a lot. I don't like the way you refer to me when you're talking about 40 and 50 year olds. But apart from that, that was great.

Luke Gibson:

I will say a quick something. You guys asked the question. I mean, I go through a lot of these questions in my head in relation to myself here, being on the workforce. They say about young people and stuff throughout the industry and it is true. It's not just that we have younger workers. There's a number of issues going on there with the hours of work, fatigue, the relationships at home and then also the money issues. Then the things what happens when the building is finished. You know, guys need to be looked after after that, you know. You've got a lot of young guys that need education and things like that to get them through. that being a connector, as well, is to help these people understand where we've got to go with this mental health issues, alcoholism, all those sort of things that are helping. I believe it's a great thing for everybody within the workforce. Beneficial. Thank you very much.

Dr Bernie Scully:

So I love the stories that come out of guys like Luke. But what I really love is that that's part of the culture. They're the people that create the culture that get us across the line on this stuff. Let me speed up to – I think this is one of the key issues. So all of the sessions today talk about something different. I think they create a whole lot of noise if we try and jam them all in at once. We need it to come under an umbrella program that this is our health and wellbeing program. This is the desired outcomes. So these fall out of that. Rather than there's a whole lot of things going on all at once. We need to share the success stories and maintain that.

The other point here is the stats – to be transparent, the stats will say that it takes about two to five years to get your best gains, but you should start seeing gains within the first six months. There's other things. So these are conversation tools that people can use to kind of engage in this stuff. We, yes, use a real model which is kind of a formula for how a leader can have a conversation around this.

And that's pretty much it. Thank you for that. Sorry it got a bit fast towards the end. Hopefully that was helpful.

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