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How a strategy to support psychological health and safety can build a stronger and more inclusive workforce

How a strategy to support psychological health and safety can build a stronger and more inclusive workforce

5 Minute Read

The importance of mental health is gaining increased recognition in the workplace. However, many organizations struggle to identify and mitigate workplace stressors — and energy and utilities companies face unique challenges.

These steps can help you develop an effective psychological health and safety strategy:

  • Conduct workplace assessments
  • Review your policies
  • Provide training to management
  • Implement wellness programs

Supporting the well-being of your employees can help you build a stronger workforce, increase employee retention, and achieve successful outcomes in an evolving sector.

Consulting Leader, Energy and Utilities
Manager, Consulting Services - DE&I

Stress-related illnesses are rising, and one in five Canadians will experience a mental health challenge in any given year according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CHMA). While the conversation around mental health in the workplace is growing, many organizations struggle to identify and mitigate workplace stressors.

These stressors have a negative impact on the mental health of your employees and can decrease productivity within your organization if left unaddressed. Common signs of stressors in the workplace include a high number of employees calling out sick or taking stress leave, making more mistakes in their work, or quitting the organization.

Energy and utilities companies are facing specific challenges as long-term employees rapidly retire from the sector. Many are struggling to attract and retain new talent to fill those gaps, which creates a demanding workload and increases the risk of burnout for existing employees. It is crucial to assess your current work environment and take the right steps to develop a strategy that promotes psychological health and safety in your workplace. This can help your organization build a stronger workforce and achieve better outcomes as the energy and utilities sector continues to evolve.

Why is psychological health and safety important?

Employees in the energy and utilities sector face specific risks to their psychological health and safety. This includes stressful work, demanding conditions, inadequate support from management, and ineffective support for external training.

Each of these factors has a significant impact on their mental health. According to a 2022 study of electricians and plumbers in Ontario, a third of study participants reported experiencing moderate levels of personal burnout and a quarter reported experiencing work-related burnout. An additional 17.5 percent of study participants shared experiencing colleague-related burnout.

Leaders in the energy and utilities sector need to consider how to identify and mitigate workplace stressors to reduce burnout and high turnover. Committing to supporting psychological health and safety can also help attract potential candidates to your organization and increase the appeal of the energy and utilities sector overall — helping both your company and sector thrive.

Our previous articles in this series discussed how to invest in your workforce and develop an inclusion strategy. Each of these strategies can help promote psychological health and safety in the workforce by putting people at the centre of your organization and creating a workforce where all employees feel seen, valued, heard, and respected.

However, it is crucial to go one step further and develop a comprehensive strategy to support a psychologically healthy and safe work environment for your employees. This can bring a significant return on investment through reducing absenteeism, improving productivity, and increasing engagement. It can also help boost employee retention and increase operational efficiency — contributing to the success of your company.

How to develop a strategy to support mental health

A psychological health and safety strategy can help both your company and employees thrive. These actionable steps can help you get started:

Conduct workplace assessments

A psychosocial hazard assessment can help your organization identify stressors and psychological hazards specific to the energy and utilities sector. This may include high workloads, demanding conditions, and inadequate support.

It is important to remember that a workplace assessment involves more than just a survey. It also requires you to start conversations about psychological health and safety and prepare your employees to understand how to complete these types of assessments.

Additionally, your organization must be willing to action changes from the findings of your assessment as well as engage employees for ongoing feedback and input. This is complex work — and an external advisor can help you understand, accept, and align psychosocial hazards and facilitate change within your organization.

Review your policies

Your workplace’s health and safety policies must include a statement about psychological health and safety to align with the Canadian National Standard of Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. However, it is important to consider how you can go beyond this requirement to address specific psychosocial hazards through your workplace policies.

If your workplace assessment identified work-life balance as a significant concern, your organization can implement a policy around the right to disconnect to reinforce work-life balance. Additionally, assessing your policies through an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) lens can reveal areas where you can increase inclusion for all employees — which is a vital factor of psychological health and safety.

Monitoring the impact of these changes through ongoing workplace assessments can help you determine if your policies are effectively addressing psychosocial hazards. It is recommended to conduct these assessments every two years. While these changes take time to show results, it is a significant investment in the overall success of your organization.

Energy and Utilities

Every business needs power to succeed. Whether you produce, generate, transmit or regulate the energy that keeps Canada — and the world — ticking, MNP has the expertise you need to keep pace with this dynamic market.

Provide training to management

Management within your organization plays a key role in supporting the psychological health and safety of your employees. Leadership training that addresses the importance of mental health in the workforce can help ensure they have the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

Invest in training that helps managers to notice behaviours that may indicate employees are struggling with mental health challenges — such as frequent absences. This equips them with the skills to intervene, provide support, and offer prevention.

Leadership training also helps destigmatize mental health challenges through building awareness throughout all levels of your organization. This helps create an environment that promotes open conversation about psychological health and safety — supporting employee well-being as well as increasing engagement and productivity.

Implement wellness programs

Implementing a wellness program and ensuring your employees have access to mental health resources that meet their needs can play a significant role in supporting psychological health and safety. Professionals can provide intervention and therapy through employee assistance programs (EAPs) or employee and family assistance programs (EFAPs) to proactively address challenges.

Additionally, more organizations are expanding benefits to ensure employees have access to meaningful and sufficient mental health supports coverage that meets their needs. Consider how you can increase benefits, extend benefits, and make employees aware of these benefits.

Communication is key to ensure that employees are aware of the benefits and options that your organization provides to support their psychological health and safety. Open conversations also help create a work environment where employees feel comfortable asking for support if they are struggling and using the benefits your organization provides.

Take the next steps

For more information about how to foster psychological health and safety within your organization, contact MNP’s Consulting Services team. Our team has a wide range of experience and takes a clinical approach toward helping you create an effective strategy tailored to the unique needs of your energy and utilities company.

Hannah Behzadi MA, RP, CCC

Manager, Consulting


[email protected]

Gord Chalk MBA,CMC

Consulting Leader, Energy and Utilities



[email protected]

Lea Trotman

Manager, Consulting Services - DE&I



[email protected]


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