3 Common Mistakes HR Leaders Should Dodge When Dealing With Psychosocial Hazards

Written by
Ryan McGrory
August 4, 2022

As HR leaders, we're all about creating workplaces where our people can thrive. And part of that mission involves navigating the tricky terrain of psychosocial hazards – those workplace woes that can throw a wrench in the gears of employee wellbeing and productivity. 

But, what are the mistakes to avoid? How can we sidestep a lot of grief when tackling these hazards head-on? Here are three common mistakes to avoid … 

1. Missing the Early Warning Signals

Okay, picture this: Your team's been feeling the strain lately. There's a bit more grumbling around the water cooler, and sick days are on the rise. It's easy to brush these signs off as just part of the daily grind, right? Wrong move.

Ignoring those early warning signals is a big no-no. It's like ignoring the "check engine" light in your car – sure, you can keep driving, but you're headed for trouble. Instead, HR pros need to tune in and pay attention to the signs. Conduct regular check-ins, pulse surveys, or even informal meetings with teams. By catching these issues early, you can nip them in the bud before they blossom into full-blown headaches.

2. Dropping the Support Ball

We've all been there – feeling like we're adrift in a sea of stress with no life raft in sight. That's why it's crucial for HR leaders to be there with a helping hand when their team members hit rough waters. But sometimes, we see HR dropping the support ball.

Maybe it's failing to offer resources to help employees manage stress or downplaying complaints about burnout or bullying. Whatever the case, neglecting to provide that crucial support can leave your team feeling stranded and disengaged. Offer counselling services, create clear reporting procedures for employees to flag an issue, and let your team know you've got their back with a top quality wellbeing strategy or program. When your people feel supported, they'll be better equipped to weather any storm.

3. Forgetting About Leadership's Role

Last but not least, let's talk about leadership. As HR leaders, we know that the tone starts at the top. But all too often, we see organisational leaders dropping the ball when it comes to promoting a healthy workplace culture. Whether it's turning a blind eye to toxic behaviour or failing to prioritise employee wellbeing, leadership missteps can set the stage for psychosocial hazards to thrive.

So, HR pros, it's time to team up with your organisational leaders and get them on board. Offer leadership training, hold them accountable for their behaviour, and remind them that a healthy workplace starts with them. When your leaders lead by example, your whole team will follow suit.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to improve your approach to psychosocial hazards, employee wellbeing and workplace culture - get in touch. We’re happy to be a sounding board to listen and offer feedback; a collaborator to help you improve; or a connector to put you in touch with other helpful solutions and providers.