Three years ago, I ran an organizational culture campaign at the oil and gas project site where I worked in the Northern Territory. In my HR role, part of my job was to promote healthy, collaborative workplaces where individual talents and differences were respected and management was attuned to the physical and mental well-being of their employees.
The theme of this campaign was: The Dinosaur Days are Gone. It stressed that the modern workplace and society’s expectations were rapidly changing and that old-school mentalities and behaviours were outdated, unproductive and had no place in a 21st century work environment.
The campaign was well received and the message, delivered in a fun, engaging and educational manner, resonated with the target audience.
Since running that campaign and being involved with a number of businesses and industries in anti-bullying education, I’ve noticed three recurring themes:
- Some companies are still reluctant to bring mental health and anti-bullying programs into their workplaces; as one company director told me: “It’ll just open a can of worms – it’s easier to brush it under the carpet and ignore it”.
- Companies that value their employees have better staff retention, improved productivity and reduced absenteeism/presenteeism because they proactively embrace education and early intervention
- Male-dominated industries still have a lot of work to do to make employees feel safe and comfortable in speaking up about mental health issues and must do more to break down ancient patterns of harmful behavior, including ‘apprentice initiations’
The dinosaur days are truly gone. Technology is changing our work landscape, Millennials are flipping long-term, one-job-for-life career ambition on its head and toxic companies are being outed on social media.
Businesses that fail to embrace positive cultural change risk becoming extinct – like the dinosaurs.
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Jessica Hickman is a professional member of these associations: