In early 2022, we surveyed our ACE New Zealand members to better understand the tools and initiatives they have in place to manage mental health and wellbeing in their workplaces.

We asked members to identify the initiatives in place at their firm to protect, foster, support, and reclaim mental health in the workplace.

What the results told us is that many of our member firms are already doing good work in supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, and most have some tools and initiatives in place aimed at minimising risks to the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. However, the majority of initiatives are aimed at supporting their people once harm has been done, rather than proactively fostering mental health and wellbeing of their people.

Overall, the results suggested that there are clear opportunities for our businesses to better design their workplaces to support their people to thrive.

Focus group findings

In mid-late 2022 we invited member firms — four small (fewer than 20 employees), four medium (20-100 employees), three large (100+ employees) to take part in a series of focus groups.

The objective of the focus groups was to take a deeper dive into where firms are currently focusing their efforts, and to learn and reflect on what is working and what isn’t.

What we found confirmed the initial survey results that the focus is still primarily on tools in the reactive space, structured around our legal obligations, and are individually focused such as providing an EAP service. Few firms carried out any assessment or monitoring of mental health (psychosocial) risks, and although all participants supported flexible working to some extent most did little to monitor the impacts of work on their people. What this tells us is that there are many opportunities for our businesses to better design their workplaces to support their people to thrive.

Measuring our progress

To ensure the success of Mindspace and ensure we are focusing on the right areas we need to measure our progress. Over the next year we will carry out a further sector-wide survey to measure our progress. 

We will also look at collecting data to better understand the key psychosocial risk factors affecting the sector. This information will help us better tailor the resources we develop.

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