Heads Up featured employer: Wesfarmers

Heads Up featured employer: Wesfarmers


I’m Genevieve Hawkins and I work for Wesfarmers
as the General Manager of Wesfarmers Group Team Cover. I first became aware of the importance
of workplace mental health when studying occupational therapy. And this takes me into my current
role at Wesfarmers where we recognise how important it is to have really engaged people
in order to deliver results. There is a very clear direct link between
mental health and productivity. And therefore, that is very important to Wesfarmers because
we appreciate that in order to get the results that we want to get again and again, we need
to have a highly productive workforce. And the only way to have a highly productive workforce
is to understand that mental health issue. Because to be productive, people need to feel
valued and appreciated for the work that they do, and that they feel that they have a voice.
So they feel they can be heard, that they can raise issues and they can be part of problem-solving
in order to get a better result. One of the important steps that we’ve taken
to improve productivity is actually measured by our absenteeism and turnover rates that
we’re wanting to improve. And we’ve looked at a process that we call ‘stay interviews’.
So, lots of organisations will do exit interviews when people leave, but that’s too late. We
do the stay interviews. So, we’ve been working through to understand what is it that keeps
people here and what is it that they would need to see within the workplace to remain
here and remain highly engaged and productive in what they do. From those stay interviews,
we’ve now been developing engagement plans that are team specific so that each team feels
that they have a voice in designing what will work best for them to feel valued and engaged
and highly productive in the workplace. I think the Heads Up initiative plays an incredibly
valuable role for workplaces and organisations across Australia in improving workplace mental
health. For organisations that are struggling to work out what to do in the mental health
space, the online action plan is a fantastic way of helping them to identify what sorts
of initiatives they can put in place and to help get them to track through their progress
in that space. So, it helps them to hold themselves and others accountable for delivering on a
mentally healthy workplace.

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