Comcare As one Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work



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Why it matters


With at least one in five Australians experiencing mental health conditions each year, many will experience mental ill health in the workplace. People with mental health conditions are working in all levels of employment and flourishing, and with the right management practices and work arrangements even those with severe conditions can be highly effective and fulfilled employees.

As a manager, you are in a position to note changes that may indicate problems, before there is a need for extended absence from work. You have a role in supporting employees returning to work following absences.


‘[I]t is incumbent upon all of us, to work together to improve workplace health. Every one of us should have the opportunity to benefit from the positive impact good work has on physical and mental health, especially those with existing mental health conditions.’1

Dame Carol Black, former National Director for Health and Work, Department for Health, UK


Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 workplaces need to prevent harm to the health and safety of workers. This includes physical and mental health. Under the Act, an officer is a person who makes, or participates in making decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of a business or undertaking. Officers have a duty to be proactive and continuously ensure that the business or undertaking complies with relevant duties and obligations. See for more information on your role under this legislation.

How it’s done

Leadership actions


Leaders at all levels are critical for creating a culture of good mental health and wellbeing. Comcare’s Centre of Excellence in Mental Health and Well-being at Work has defined leadership actions which are critical for success.
These are:

  • Focusing on mental health at work by establishing principles that are integrated into work design, people management practices, business processes, leadership and staff development programs.

  • Assessing the risks to mental health and wellbeing and taking action to continuously improve culture and systems at work, including promoting a culture free from bullying and harassment.

  • Providing managers with capability and support to help employees adapt to challenge and change and holding them accountable for this work.

  • Raising awareness in the workplace to eliminate discrimination, reduce stigma and help people to recognise early warning signs and know how to respond to mental
    ill health.

  • Promoting a culture which supports ability to work and supports managers to make adjustments to accommodate ill health.

  • Involving people at work in decisions on how their work is undertaken, including changes that affect them directly.

  • Providing clear expectations, tools and support for performance improvement and holding people accountable for their behaviours in the workplace.

  • Monitoring agency needs in relation to programs such as the Employee Assistance Program, mental health training and rehabilitation services to improve functioning and foster participation in work.

  • Taking an active role in ensuring that people with longer term incapacity for work due to mental health conditions are offered pathways back to employment.

  • Providing employees with access to information and support to optimise their involvement in health, recovery and return to work.

It’s OK to talk about mental health

Sometimes people think that mental health is a private issue that should not be raised or discussed. This is not true. As a manager, your role is to respond to the early warning signs by asking the individual if they are OK and offering support.


Promote health and prevent harm


Just as the workplace can promote good mental health through meaningful work, work can harm mental health through poorly designed jobs and exposure to workplace hazards and risks. Your role is to:

Design the work of your team in a way that does not cause undue stress or excessive workloads, and supports work-life balance

Manage work demands and resources

Match employee capability with the job requirements

Assess and manage workplace risks

Build supportive working relationships

Promote work-life balance

Understand and communicate your agency’s policies on matters such as reasonable adjustment and performance management to your employees.

Recognise and respond to early signs of mental ill health


It is not your role to diagnose a mental health condition or to be a counsellor. But you can choose to act when you see something out of character or you are concerned about signs of mental ill health.

Mental health, like physical health, is a continuum. Sometimes people will display early signs of mental ill health or distress. Regardless of whether it is due to work or personal circumstances, your role is to recognise and respond to early signs of mental ill health. This includes:



identifying when a decline in ability to cope, performance or unplanned absence might be due to a mental health condition

having a conversation with the employee and offering assistance

if appropriate, discussing with your human resources team whether a fitness for duty assessment is warranted.
Take time out to get to know your team.

Understand the skills, capability, and interests of your team, including health and motivations at work.

This will help you to build working relationships with your employees based on mutual trust and respect.

It will help you to match employees’ skills and knowledge to the role and to make adjustments to support them at work.

Knowing your team will also make it easier to recognise early warning signs when employees are struggling; have difficult conversations to see if they are OK; and enable employees to remain at or return to work after mental ill health.



Support ability to work


Managers should support employees of all abilities and personal circumstances to participate in work. People may require different levels of support at different times.

  • Seek to understand issues that may impact on your employees’ ability to work and make reasonable adjustments to accommodate these

  • Foster flexible and supportive work teams, and

  • Support ill or injured employees to return to work.

Look after yourself


It is important that you look after your own mental health and wellbeing. It is much harder to be a good manager and look after others if you are struggling.
Useful Tools:

United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE)—competencies for managers dealing with stress in the workplace



Manage emotions and act with integrity:

Be honest and respectful with employees, behaving consistently and calmly, thoughtful in managing others.



Manage and communicate work demands:

Proactive work management, good problem solving skills, consulting effectively with the team.



Manage individuals within the team:

Accessible and available, fostering a sociable and relaxed approach, understanding skills and personal circumstances.



Manage difficult situations:

Dealing with conflict, using organisational resources and support effectively, taking responsibility for resolving issues.

For more information see the self-assessment tool for managers: .

Useful Tools


  • Agency Employee Assistance Programs and Manager Assistance Programs.

  • APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct <http://www.apsc.gov.au>.

  • Understand your roles and responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 .

  • LaMontagne, AD & Keegel, T 2012. Reducing stress in the workplace (An evidence review: full report), Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Melbourne, Australia. See: .

  • Brun, JP & Cooper C 2009.
    Missing Pieces: 7 Ways to Improve Employee Well-Being and Organizational Effectiveness. For book review see: .

Other relevant information sheets:

Talking about mental health

Creating a respectful workplace

Preventing bullying at work

Supporting and managing performance

Managing employees throughout their career

Managing risks

Balancing demands and control

Managing change

Role clarity for good mental health

Recognising and responding

Recognising when help is needed

Looking after yourself and carers

Building resilience

Focusing on ability to work

Workers’ compensation claims



Supporting return to work

endnotes

1 Black, C 2009, Foreword, in Line Managers’ resource, A Practical Guide to managing and supporting people with mental health problems in the workplace, Shift, London, p. 1.



3 Talking about mental health

Good relationships are based on openness, trust and respect. Regular conversations between managers and their team members can identify ways to enable an employee to be healthy, safe and productive—while maintaining confidentiality about personal health circumstances. This applies to people living with mental health conditions and those who are in a carer’s role.
Why it matters

Managers are in a unique position to recognise when an employee may be struggling and not functioning well at work. Having an early exploratory conversation is important because you may be able to provide some early workplace support which may help get things back on track. This may also encourage the employee to get help from their support networks, such as family, friends, peer support workers or mental health professionals.



Like any other health or personal issue, an employee makes a choice about talking with their manager about their mental health. Employees are not required to disclose any mental health information. Your conversation needs to be an expression of concern and observation of what you are noticing about their functioning at work—it should be based on observable behaviour in the workplace.

How it’s done

Be open and approachable. The culture in your team will need to be trusting to support an employee to disclose personal information.

Recognise early signs of mental ill health including changes in workplace behaviours, declining work performance, increased absence or excessive hours at work, uncharacteristic behaviours, distress or low morale.

Have an exploratory conversation about your concern. Make your first response an exploratory and empathic conversation indicating what you are noticing at work, expressing genuine concern and offering support. You can ask ‘Are you OK?’ or some version of that question, but be prepared to follow up an answer such as ‘No, actually I don’t think I am.’ Demonstrate empathy by expressing concern, and having the conversation in a private location (like a closed office or a quiet coffee shop), so you can give your full attention.
Employees are more likely to disclose they have a mental health condition if:

  • they are confident that what they say will be treated with respect and in confidence

  • they believe their manager and colleagues will support them and respond appropriately to their needs

  • they are confident that harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated by the organisation.


Step 1:

Make contact

  • Arrange a meeting time

  • Allow sufficient time for a confidential discussion

  • Prepare—work out what you want to say and what you want to achieve

  • Choose a suitable location—private and confidential.

Step 2:
Explore the issues

  • Ask open questions, listen carefully, be attentive

  • State the behaviour you have observed,
    e.g., ‘I have noticed that you appear distracted, is everything OK?’

  • Define the issues and discuss.


Step 3:
Develop options and offer support

  • Explore what the person wants to do, e.g. could workplace adjustments be made

  • Consider options in relation to operational demands

  • Work together to come up with solutions

  • Gently and constructively engage with the person if they keep coming up with barriers.

Step 4:
Agree on action

  • Decide on a course of action

  • Define and agree on clear, specific steps

  • Follow up at an agreed time, review, and provide feedback.


Sometimes it may take more than one approach before the employee engages in conversation. Thus, it is important that the manager does not simply give up after an initial unsuccessful attempt.
Stay in touch particularly if the employee is off work—maintain a connection with the workplace. If your relationship has become strained, you can do this through a nominated contact in your human resources area. If someone is returning after an absence due to ill health, have the conversation (a ‘welcome back’ discussion) about how you can support them to be engaged and productive at work including through any flexible work arrangements, or other reasonable adjustments.
Respect employee privacy. If an employee talks to you about their mental health, ask them what they would like you to do with the information, such as what to tell colleagues, and ask how the workplace can support them. Stigma surrounding mental illness may prevent people from feeling comfortable about how mental health issues will be handled at work. You cannot talk about an employee’s mental health condition with other members of the team or anyone else, unless that employee has given you permission.
If there is an impact on the team, ask the employee what they would like you to tell their colleagues. This may be just that they are currently unwell and what work arrangements have been put in place.

Follow up the conversation. You may want to set some action items, for example to check back with the employee again in a week’s time.

What if I am worried about the employee’s health? Personal information will need to be kept confidential unless the employee agrees for you to disclose it to another person. The exception to this is if you are genuinely worried about a work health and safety risk, such as harm to an individual, including the employee. In this case seek assistance from your human resources team, Employee or Manager Assistance Programs or emergency health providers.

Useful tools

  • The Australian Human Rights Commission publication Workers with Mental Illness: A Practical Guide for Managers covers privacy and disclosure and effective communications strategies. See: <http://www.humanrights.gov.au/>.

  • Information Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act 1988: Information Sheet on the collection, storage and use of personal information. See: <http://www.privacy.gov.au/>.



Information privacy laws

Information about an employee’s mental health must be kept confidential and private. When a person tells you about their mental health condition in the work context, you cannot tell anyone else without their consent. You can generally only use the information for the purpose they told you—such as to make reasonable adjustments.

APS managers are bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Other relevant information sheets:

Creating a respectful workplace

Preventing bullying at work

4 Creating a respectful workplace

Managers play a key role in setting the culture of the workplace and the team through the behaviours they model, and those they expect of their employees. Positive workplaces are built by consistently respectful behaviour and clear expectations of employees.
Why it matters

In APS workplaces, core values and expected conduct at work are codified in the APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct.1 The Values, Employment Principles and Code define the culture of the APS and codify the attitudes and behaviours that employees are expected to display in their work in order to achieve business outcomes and meet the expectations of government and the community. The Values, Employment Principles and Code influence performance and decisions in everyday work, and define ‘the way we do business’.


The benefits of respectful workplaces include:

  • Improved employee morale and job satisfaction, improved teamwork, lower absenteeism and turnover, and increased productivity.

  • Employees are better equipped to manage conflict collaboratively and cope with workplace challenge and change.2

  • Employees are much less likely to perceive their workload as excessive or to submit workers’ compensation claims.3

  • Teams and organisations that are seen as positive places to work will attract and retain highly skilled staff.4

Lack of respect and what is sometimes called ‘incivility’
—low level negative behaviours (such as rudeness, discourtesy, not acknowledging other staff)—can create a dysfunctional team environment, relationship breakdown, decline in productivity, and the risk of psychological injury.
Employers and employees have shared obligations for creating respectful and courteous workplaces.

Employers want a productive workforce that manages its performance and achieves results.

Employees want to work in a place where:

they know what is expected of them

the workplace is safe and they are treated fairly

their skills and contribution are recognised and valued

training and development support career progression

they can work harmoniously with others.
Respect: Promoting a culture free from harassment and bullying
in the APS, Commonwealth of Australia, 2011 (4th ed.)

How it’s done

Set clear expectations of behaviour. Team discussions can highlight a set of agreed behaviours that embody the APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct. These discussions are very effective with a new team or when a new manager is appointed. The exercise can also be used for existing teams as a way to reinforce the importance of fostering respect. It could even be included as a regular team meeting agenda item. The goal is to develop a shared understanding of appropriate conduct at work and what these expectations mean in a practical setting.

Be a positive role model. If a manager is respectful, employees are more likely to follow. If a manager is abrasive and impolite, employees have an excuse for displaying the same behaviour. Be genuine in your actions and promote the kind of culture that inspires people to do their best.

Make it how you do business. Include behavioural expectations in performance plans and give regular feedback to employees relating to performance and the APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct. Give practical examples of positive as well as negative behaviours to build a shared understanding of what is expected. Acknowledge how people achieve, as well as what they achieve.5

Push back on disrespectful behaviours. In cases where a person you are managing is displaying discourteous, unconstructive or abrasive behaviour, have a conversation with the employee to name the specific behaviour and the impact the behaviour is having on you, the team, or the agency. If you let it go, you may be seen to condone such unacceptable behaviour and set a norm for future behaviour.

Create a positive work environment. As a manager you will influence the way the people in your team feel about your agency and the time they spend at work. Within the bounds of the workplace, people need to feel comfortable to be able to express who they are, bring and take away meaning from the work they perform, and build commitment through inclusion in decisions. Encourage your employees to enjoy themselves at work, and to feel part of a community that respects and supports them.

Maintain open communication. Be open and transparent with employees. Share work fairly and set clear and realistic deadlines. Provide constructive and regular feedback to all employees and promote a balance between work and home life.

Manage workloads and priorities. Prioritise tasks, set clear and realistic deadlines, and ensure employees have all the information they need to do their work. Manage the allocation of urgent work and help staff to re-prioritise workloads where necessary.
Useful tools

Respect: Promoting a culture free from harassment and bullying in the APS. Commonwealth of Australia, 2011 (4th ed.). See <http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/respect-building-a-positive-work-environment>

Respect Summary Guide, Australian Public Service Commission. See <http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/respect-summary-guide>

APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct. See <www.apsc.gov.au>

Towards a Respectful Workplace, University of New Brunswick. See <http://www.unbf.ca/towardarespectfulworkplace/>

Don’t Be a Silent Witness—Preventing bullying resources, Comcare. See <www.comcare.gov.au/safety__and__prevention/health_and_safety_topics/bullying/Comcares_workplace_bullying_campaign>

Employee Assistance Program and Manager Assistance Program

Other relevant information sheets:

Preventing bullying at work

endnotes

1 Public Service Act 1999

2 Mental Health Commission of Canada 2012, Psychological Health and Safety: An action guide for employers, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary and Ottawa, p. 17, .

3 Comcare 2008, Working Well: An organisational approach to preventing psychological injury, 2nd edn, Comcare, Canberra, p. 11, <http://www.comcare.gov.au/Forms_and_Publications/published_information/our_services/safety_and_prevention/safety_and_prevention/work_well_org_appr_to_prevent_psych_inj>.

4 Australian Public Service Commission 2011, Respect: promoting a culture free from harassment and bullying in the APS, 4th edn, APSC, Canberra, <http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/respect-building-a-positive-work-environment/building-a-positive-work-environment>.

5 ibid.
Example of how to have the conversation—naming behaviour:



Step 1: Pre-plan and script the conversation. Think about
what you are going to say and what the most appropriate time and place is for the conversation to happen.

Step 2: Use ‘I’ messages.

Step 3: Explain the impact of the behaviour on yourself and/or other team members.
Example: ‘I have noticed…and I feel that…’
Your agency’s Employee Assistance Program or Manager Assistance Program is also available to assist managers with scripting a conversation.
5 Preventing bullying at work
Workplace bullying is more than simply an interpersonal conflict—it can be a systemic problem that arises in the context of a poor workplace culture.1 It is best dealt with by taking steps to prevent workplace bullying long before it undermines individuals’ wellbeing or workplace relationships, or becomes a risk to health and safety2—and the most effective way to do this is by fostering a culture in which bullying behaviour is unlikely to thrive. All members of a workplace, including managers, play a role in preventing and managing bullying at work.
Why it matters

Workplace bullying has significant effects on those directly experiencing or witnessing the bullying, as well as their families, the work team and the organisation.

Employers have a clear legal obligation under work health and safety legislation to eliminate risks associated with workplace bullying as far as is reasonably practicable. This can be achieved through quality people management practices and specific workplace bullying strategies.
Be proactive in communicating standards of expected behaviour.

Create a workplace where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

Design appropriate, realistic systems of work.

Develop productive, respectful working relationships.

Follow the organisation’s policy and processes if standards of expected behaviour are not met.
How it’s done

Workplace bullying can be the result of a range of individual and organisational factors, including a work culture or environment that permits inappropriate behaviour to occur, managers with poor people management skills, a lack of supportive leadership, and workplace stressors and risks.3



Promote a positive workplace culture. Identify and model the behaviours that you need in your team. This will help you to create a work culture based on respect, where bullying is not tolerated.
If there is bullying in your team or organisation, seek to understand its causes and impact in the context of the broader workplace culture.

Identify and call bullying behaviours early. If bullying does occur, it is important to recognise this behaviour and act on it early. This will help to maintain a culture where bullying is not tolerated.

Your agency should have a policy to help you to address any bullying that occurs. When an incident of bullying does occur you may be required to notify Comcare of the incident. Details of when you need to notify Comcare are on the Comcare website at: <www.comcare.gov.au>.

Some people might be unaware that their behaviour might amount to bullying. It may be useful to have a conversation with the employee about their behaviour and its impact on colleagues. This will probably be a sensitive and difficult conversation and you might need to talk with your human resource team for advice on how to prepare. In some cases you might want a member of your human resources team to be there during the conversation.

Manage workplace stressors and risks. Role conflict and uncertainty can sometimes lead to bullying behaviours due to the stress it places on employees. It is important to ensure that employees understand their roles and have the appropriate skills to do their job. This will help to minimise work circumstances that could lead to bullying, and can also help to minimise the risk of employees perceiving difference of opinion or management action as bullying.

Provide regular and respectful performance feedback. Managers have a broad range of responsibilities including monitoring workflow and providing feedback to employees on their work and performance. When feedback is provided properly, with the intention of assisting the employee to improve their performance or behaviour, it is not bullying.4

To prevent performance management being perceived as bullying, it is important to focus on high quality, respectful, and regular performance feedback.



Sound workplace policies can serve as a preventative tool to tackle bullying. The policy should be a clear statement of the standards of behaviour that are expected and the processes to follow if these are not met.

Minimise the impact of bullying on the team. Bullying can affect employees who witness it, as well as those who experience it directly. Each employee will react differently to bullying behaviours. Reactions may include distress, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbances, impaired concentration at work, low self-esteem, or reduced work performance.

Employees who witness bullying behaviours may feel angry, unhappy or stressed about the work culture, or feel guilty because they know that the behaviour is wrong but feel unable or afraid to stop it.

It is important to recognise and respond to early warning signs of employees who have been affected by bullying and support them to seek help.
I was sent to work as an advisor to a very senior manager who no-one else was willing to work for. My former boss knew this person was difficult to work for, and that the agency was considering whether his behavior breached the Code of Conduct.
I ended up being diagnosed with a mental health condition as a result of the way I was treated, and have spent the past twelve months in and out of hospital.’

David, an APS employee



Useful tools

Workplace bullying campaign
—don’t be a silent witness.
See: .

Comcare, Preventing and managing bullying at work. See: .

Respect: Promoting a culture free from harassment and bullying in the APS. Commonwealth of Australia, 2011 (4th ed.)

Bullying is repeated behaviour that could reasonably be considered to be humiliating, intimidating, threatening or demeaning.



Bullying can be direct or indirect, and inflicted by one person or groups.

A single incident generally does not constitute bullying.

Bullying behaviour is not always intentional and some people may not realise that their behaviour is perceived as bullying behaviour that is harmful to others.’

Comcare, Workplace Bullying, Don’t be a silent witness & Respect: Promoting a culture free from harassment and bullying in the APS, Commonwealth of Australia, 2011 (4th ed.)



Other relevant information sheets:

Creating a respectful workplace

Supporting and managing performance

Role clarity for good mental health

Recognising and responding

endnotes

1 Dr Carlo Caponecchia, Workplace Bullying , House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Education and Employment, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 23 August 2012, p.3.

2 Safe Work Australia 2011, Draft Code of Practice: Managing the Risk of Workplace Bullying, SWA, Canberra, p 7.

3 Comcare 2010, Preventing and managing bullying at work – a guide for employers, Comcare, Canberra, p. 5, .

4 ibid., p. 7.
6 Supporting and managing performance
Managing underperformance where it is linked to mental ill health is among the most complex and difficult situations a manager can face. Clear expectations of roles, responsibilities, provision of support, as well as regular informal feedback on performance, help to create good relationships and a healthy performance management culture.

Following standard good practice (with an additional consideration of any need for reasonable adjustment) is all that is expected.




Why it matters

Positive working relationships are built on communication and trust. Regular conversations with employees about their role, capabilities and how work gets done will enhance engagement and productivity.

However, poor performance management practices such as a lack of regular feedback or using formal processes before understanding the issues impacting on performance can result in a breakdown in relationships, mental harm and potential workers’ compensation claims.

Sometimes performance is not at the usual standard when a person is unwell or is managing significant personal issues (for example illness in the family, bereavement, domestic violence or other personal crises). As a manager, the first thing that you need to do is to understand the reason for poor performance and how you can support the employee, including supporting them to perform well at work.

Performance management is a process for employees to receive sufficient feedback to maintain or improve their performance and align work to broader organisational goals. It is not just dealing with poor performance but is about encouraging and enabling success, providing employees with a sense of organisational purpose and role clarity, and matching skills to the work required.
How it’s done

Employees with mental health conditions can be performance managed. However, in some cases it may be vital to incorporate clinical and psychosocial information when doing so. This information about the employee’s condition, and its impact on their functioning, will guide the parameters of performance management. This material can often be obtained from treating practitioners, or may need to be accessed via a fitness for duty assessment with a mental health specialist (e.g. a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist). It is recommended that you seek advice from your human resources team.

Remember you must obtain written permission from the employee before contacting any treating practitioner and then maintain confidentiality at all times.

Ensure that the employee has clear expectations around their role, responsibilities and accountability. There are a number of resources available to managers: business plans depicting how the role fits in with the context of the organisation, corporate capability development frameworks and work level standards, job descriptions, as well as the APS Integrated Leadership System.

Discuss ways that you can improve every team member’s experience at work, even when they are performing well.

Give regular feedback and have conversations about how you can work together to achieve goals. Informal feedback includes guidance, coaching, support and encouragement. Discuss clarity of the role, performance standards, support required, and learning and development needs. This will help minimise discrepancies between the manager’s and employee’s perception of performance.

Recognise changes in behaviour due to ill health including a decline in performance or an increase in absenteeism or sick leave use. People with chronic conditions who are good performers sometimes need time away from work to deal with their medical condition. Some people will try to stay at work during a difficult time, but their performance can slip. In these situations, it is your job to support the employee to make good decisions about their ongoing contribution to the team’s work, with a view to maintaining their contribution over the longer term.1

There is an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to eliminate and reduce barriers which may exist for the employee to perform the requirements of


the job.

Performance appraisals—make sure that there are no surprises in the formal appraisal. Regular feedback supported by evidence will help to ensure this. Use SMART goals whenever possible.

Dealing with conflict and reasonable management action.

Reasonable administrative action is defined in the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) to include a performance appraisal, counselling, suspension or disciplinary action.

The critical issue is the way in which an administrative action is actually undertaken in the workplace. The action must be lawful and fair. It must be objectively assessed in the context of the circumstances, the knowledge of those involved at the time, and the emotional state and psychological health of the employee.

The importance of creating and retaining proper records in relation to administrative actions concerning a person’s employment, especially when issues of underperformance, interpersonal conflict and poor conduct are alleged, must be emphasised. Failure to do so may lead to unfairness and difficulty establishing the facts.


SMART Goals are goals that are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant, and can be
    implemented within a

  • Timeframe.


Remember—have clear expectations, regular feedback, and no surprises in the formal performance conversation.
Useful tools

  • Your agency’s Employee and Manager Assistance Programs

  • Working Well. See:

  • APS ILS Framework. See: <http://www.apsc.gov.au>.

  • APSC Strengthening the Performance Framework Project. See: <http://www.apsc.gov.au/aps-reform/workforce-capabilities/performance-framework>.

Other relevant information sheets:

Talking about mental health

Managing employees throughout their career

Role clarity for good mental health



Focusing on ability to work

endnotes

1 WorkCover Western Australia 2000, Occupational Stress: Factors that Contribute to its Occurrence and Effective Management, report prepared by E Kendall, P Murphy, V O’Neill & S Bursnall, WorkCover WA, Shenton Park, p. 61; and Comcare 2008, Working Well: An organisational approach to preventing psychological injury, 2nd edn, Comcare, Canberra, p. 20, .


7 Managing employees throughout their career
Some of the major barriers to participation in employment for people with a mental health condition include stigma, fear and ignorance amongst employers and co-workers, and inflexible and inappropriate working arrangements.’1

Why it matters

Meaningful employment is generally good for a person’s health and wellbeing2; having something meaningful to do can be a great enabler of recovery; however, poor health, including mental ill health, is often a barrier to obtaining employment and participating in good quality work.3 Overcoming discrimination is essential in helping people with mental health conditions to get work and to keep it. The APS is committed to diversity and ensuring equal opportunities in employment and career opportunities for those with mental health conditions.



How it’s done


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