PROGRESSIVE beef company OBE Organic has just shared its learnings on becoming a mentally healthy organisation via a special report which it hopes will inspire other agriculture businesses down a similar path.
OBE Organic, a family-owned premium beef exporter of organic meat, created an action plan which involved setting up a mental health committee. OBE believes the work has been invaluable during this year's pandemic havoc.
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Chairman David Brook said mental health was a critical factor in staff retention and productivity.
"With the uncertainties of COVID-19 most people have concerns about their families, jobs or businesses," he said.
"I know the pressure our team is going through. There are no simple answers to squeezed margins, disrupted deliveries, and the hits to our well-thought-out strategies."
OBE believes a more deliberate focus on increasing mental health awareness and reducing stigma will mean the business is more equipped to support individuals and will reduce the risk for mental health conditions in the workplace.
It's report says 27 per cent of people in agriculture, fishing and forestry experience mental health conditions.
Increasingly, more and more organisations and workplaces are realising the impact of mental health problems at work on their people and productivity, it says.
OBE Organic references research that suggests the expected return for investing in actions to create a mentally healthy workplace is 2.86.
"Small but consistent actions promote positive physical, mental and social wellbeing and they are the key to unlocking our individual and collective strengths," the report says.
"By having the right resources, capabilities and support to match the expectations of the job, we can reduce job stress. By nurturing, developing and activating our psychological capital, we will promote wellbeing and achieve positive organisational performance."
Key to the OBE mental health action plan has been talking about its mental health journey openly through social media.
Other measures include introducing a template for quarterly catch-ups with staff and the use of Trademutt shirts - their loud and vibrant look acts as a catalyst to starting conversations about mental health and make an invisible issue impossible to ignore.
"Despite approximately one-in-five Australian adults experiencing a common mental illness each year, mental health is still a hushed topic in most homes and workplaces. We are committed to challenging the stigma of mental health," the OBE report said.