As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of work, Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) is in its fifth year of ‘My Whole Self’ which is celebrated this year on the 12th March.

My Whole Self is an anchor for creating cultures where people feel valued and empowered to bring their whole self to work.

By focusing on creating psychological safety in the workplace we can change cultures for the better.

At its core, psychological safety is about trust and respect. It means colleagues listen without judgement, leaders model vulnerability and policies demonstrate fairness and dignity for all.

In 2022 it was reported that 6.9 million employees felt discriminated against because of their background in the workplace (The Everyone Economy, Chartered Management Institute, June 2022).

Why get Involved in My Whole Self?

By embracing My Whole Self, businesses can create a workplace where individuals feel empowered to be their authentic selves, whatever their personal identities, backgrounds, or experiences.

Psychologically safe workplaces can unlock creativity, productivity and belonging, and employers who create an inclusive and open workplace culture can see improvements in performance and productivity, as well as employee satisfaction and turnover.

How to get started

Building connected cultures: My Whole Self aims to foster a sense of belonging and connection among employees and management, to help support positive mental wellbeing and psychological safety, as well as a foundation for equity, diversity and inclusion.

Why not try:

  1. Encouraging open and honest communication: The relationship between employee and manager is central to supporting good mental health and wellbeing. Invest time in developing strong connections and agreeing preferred ways of working, chat about home life and build trust and understanding.
  2. Stay connected: Whether at home, on the road or in the office, social connection is vital. Some people will thrive working remotely, for others, connecting in person and collaborating in a workplace are vital. Set aside time for catch ups, team days and working with other teams (where possible) to build cohesion.
  3. Encourage regular check ins: Regular and supportive catch ups are a vital way to support one another’s mental health and wellbeing. Talking about mental health can help everyone and it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Developing empathy and understanding

The highest performing workplaces are supportive and inclusive, where people feel safe to be and express themselves and demonstrate empathy and understanding towards others who have a range of different lived experiences and backgrounds. My Whole Self encourages us all to ensure people with diverse experiences and voices are really involved, listened to, heard, and valued in decision making.

Why not try:

  1. Reading and sharing guidance on supporting mental health and wellbeing of racialised communities in the workplace: The MHFA provide a number of online resources and guides that provide advice on understanding racism and its impact, how to support the wellbeing of people from racialised communities and how to become an anti-racist workplace.
  2. Organise a book club: Whilst an informal activity, it helps people to get to know one another and understand more about their colleagues and the moments that have shaped their experiences.

Ensure inclusive leadership and management

Inclusive leadership and management consciously invites and values contributions from people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. It creates environments where everyone is encouraged to participate fully as their whole self, spurring innovation, engagement, and excellence. Senior leaders and managers play a vital role in creating psychologically safe workplaces. Proactive steps from leaders and managers will drive significant progress and change. Whilst senior leaders should set the tone and direction in creating psychologically safe workplaces, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure they are creating an inclusive environment for all.

Why not try:

  1. Prioritise equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI): EDI is on the agenda more so than ever, so it is important to ensure EDI is at the forefront in all aspects of decision making and company culture. This can be achieved by implementing policies and practices that promote diversity in hiring, providing equal opportunities for all employees, fostering a culture of respect, and belonging and actively listening to and valuing diverse perspectives.
  2. Offering training and development: Offering training and development programmes on unconscious bias, cultural competence and inclusive leadership can help leaders and managers better understand and address issues related to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

    How Hallidays HR can help:

    If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 476 8276 or email hr@hallidayshr.co.uk. And of course, visit our LinkedIn page.