Updated: Sep 4, 2019
Authored and published by Achievement Program https://www.achievementprogram.health.vic.gov.au/
When Outlook Inc joined the Achievement Program in 2014, they discovered that creating a healthy place takes a combination of understanding your needs and building on your values.
The Cardinia Shire social enterprise has a diverse workforce that includes people with a disability. They are committed to enabling people with a disability to have the same citizenship rights and opportunities as other members of our community.
With the help of health promotion organisation Monash Health, Outlook Inc was able to take the Achievement Program framework and apply it to their own unique circumstances as a workplace with a high number of volunteers and employees who have a disability.
One of the key values at Outlook Inc is being ‘people-focused’, and they found that the Achievement Program was an ideal fit for helping them to create a healthier environment that cares for their staff and volunteers.
Already accredited for a number of health and safety initiatives such as White Ribbon and the Commonwealth and State Disability Standards, Outlook’s first steps were to consult with staff and find out what their priorities were for workplace health.
They discovered that mental health and wellbeing was a priority area, along with smoking cessation.
Using the Achievement Program benchmarks, Outlook Inc established mental health initiatives such as adding more opportunities for staff/volunteers to give feedback, along with introducing an annual service awards process and a recommendation process for team leaders to recognise staff who ‘go the extra mile’.
They also began several health initiatives such as stretching exercises for outdoor staff and volunteers, removing vending machines, offering access to chilled water, no smoking on work sites and fruit bowls in all worksite kitchens. Feedback from staff identified that for some this was their only source of fresh fruit.
Outlook are now well on their way to achieving their first health priority areas, and have already completed recognition point one in the program.
Outlook’s tips for creating a healthy workplace include:
Get management involved to lead the change and inspire staff and volunteers
Open communication helps develop trust, and helps people share when something is working
Use your existing policies and procedures – you’re probably already doing great work!
Learn from others – sharing documentation between neighbourhood houses and NGOS has meant everyone in their network now has access to knowledge, learnings and support to create a healthier workplace.