Thursday, February 8, 2024

Student Wellness, an Imperative

Student Wellness, an Imperative

In an era where academic performance often takes precedence, the significance of student wellness can sometimes be overshadowed. However, the importance of prioritizing the well-being of students cannot be overstated. Student wellness encompasses a holistic approach to nurturing both the physical and mental health of individuals within educational settings. It is not merely about ensuring students attend classes and excel academically but also about creating an environment where they can thrive emotionally, socially, and physically. Let's delve into why student wellness is paramount in today's educational landscape.

1. Academic Success and Student Wellness

Contrary to the misconception that academic achievement is solely dependent on rigorous studying and high-pressure environments, research consistently shows that student wellness significantly influences academic success. When students are physically and mentally healthy, they are better equipped to focus, retain information, and perform well academically. Conversely, neglecting wellness can lead to increased stress levels, decreased concentration, and ultimately hindered academic progress.

2. Emotional Well-being and Learning

Emotional well-being is a cornerstone of student wellness. Students who feel emotionally supported and secure are more likely to engage actively in their learning process. By fostering a positive emotional climate within educational institutions, educators can create an environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves, taking risks, and exploring new ideas. Emotional intelligence and resilience are essential skills that not only contribute to academic success but also prepare students for the challenges they will face beyond the classroom.

3. Social Connections and Community

Human beings are inherently social creatures, and fostering positive social connections is vital for overall well-being. Educational institutions play a crucial role in providing students with opportunities to develop meaningful relationships, both with their peers and with supportive adults such as teachers and counselors. Building a sense of community within schools not only enhances the overall student experience but also provides a vital support network for students to lean on during difficult times.

4. Physical Health and Academic Performance

Physical health is undeniably linked to academic performance. Regular physical activity not only improves overall health but also enhances cognitive function, memory retention, and concentration. Additionally, promoting healthy eating habits and adequate sleep hygiene are essential components of supporting student wellness. Educational institutions can play a proactive role in promoting physical health by providing access to nutritious meals, encouraging regular exercise, and educating students about the importance of self-care practices.

5. Holistic Development and Lifelong Success

Ultimately, prioritizing student wellness is not just about ensuring academic success in the short term but also about nurturing individuals who are equipped to thrive in all aspects of life. By emphasizing holistic development, educational institutions empower students to become resilient, adaptable, and self-aware individuals who are capable of navigating the complexities of the modern world. Investing in student wellness lays the foundation for lifelong success and well-being, extending far beyond the confines of the classroom.

Student wellness is a fundamental component of any successful educational system. By prioritizing the physical, emotional, and social well-being of students, educators can create environments where individuals can truly thrive. Promoting student wellness not only enhances academic performance but also cultivates resilient, empowered individuals who are prepared to lead fulfilling lives. As we continue to strive for excellence in education, let us not forget the importance of nurturing both the minds and bodies of our students. After all, a healthy student is a thriving student.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Occupational Psychosocial Health: Reporting on Hazards and Risks


The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Occupational Psychosocial Health: Reporting on Hazards and Risks – J van Zyl (D Psych)


The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has emerged as a key global standard for sustainability reporting, with the aim of promoting transparency and accountability in businesses and other organizations. As part of its broader agenda, the GRI has increasingly given attention to occupational health and safety (OHS), and specifically to psychosocial health, hazards, and risks. This article will describe into how the GRI addresses and suggests reporting by companies on these critical areas.

GRI and its Approach to Sustainability Reporting

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an independent international organization that aids businesses, governments, and other entities in understanding and communicating their sustainability impacts. The GRI Standards, launched in 2016, are the first global standards for sustainability reporting, and set the foundation for a consistent approach in this area (Global Reporting Initiative, 2016).

Addressing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)

The GRI acknowledges the importance of ensuring that employees and other workers are safe from occupational injury or harm. Standard GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety, updated in 2018, provides guidance for organizations to report on their OHS management and its outcomes (Global Reporting Initiative, 2018).

Focus on Psychosocial Health

Recognizing the evolving workplace dynamics and rising challenges like workplace stress, burnout, and other psychosocial risks, the GRI Standard includes provisions for organizations to address and report on psychosocial health. These risks can arise from organizational factors, job content, and task design, among other sources (World Health Organization, 2020).

 Reporting on Psychosocial Hazards and Risks

              Identification and Management: The GRI standards encourage organizations to describe their mechanisms for identifying work-related psychosocial hazards and their approach to managing them (Global Reporting Initiative, 2018). This requires a proactive approach, identifying potential hazards before they cause harm.

              Incident Reporting: While traditional OHS metrics have been centered on physical injuries or fatalities, the GRI standards advocate for recording and disclosing incidents related to psychosocial health, including reported cases of work-related stress or burnout.

              Engagement and Training: Organizations are also encouraged to report on how they engage workers, worker representatives, and other relevant stakeholders in the development, implementation, and evaluation of psychosocial health policies and procedures.

              Outcome Metrics: To gauge the efficacy of interventions and strategies, organizations can provide metrics such as absentee rates due to psychosocial issues, or data on worker satisfaction and well-being surveys.


Challenges and Implications

                          Quantifying Psychosocial Health: Unlike physical injuries, quantifying and measuring psychosocial health can be challenging. It requires standardized instruments and surveys to gauge the mental well-being of employees (Leka et al., 2010).

                          Stigma and Reporting: Many societies and corporate cultures stigmatize mental health issues, making it challenging for employees to report them or for organizations to discuss them openly (Martin, 2010).

                          Future Directions: As the workplace continues to evolve, with remote work, digitalization, and other changes, the GRI and organizations will need to adapt their understanding and reporting mechanisms for psychosocial health (Eurofound and the International Labour Organization, 2019).



The GRI’s focus on occupational psychosocial health is both timely and essential. By encouraging transparency around psychosocial hazards and risks, the GRI not only promotes employee well-being but also helps businesses identify and address potential challenges, ensuring sustainable business practices.


Global Reporting Initiative. (2016). GRI Standards Launch.


Global Reporting Initiative. (2018). GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety.


World Health Organization. (2020). Occupational health: Psychosocial risks.

Leka, S., Griffiths, A., & Cox, T. (2010). Work organization and stress. WHO.


Martin, J. (2010). Stigma and patient disclosure of mental illness. Public Health Nursing.

Eurofound and the International Labour Organization. (2019). Working conditions in a global perspective.


OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar23 version) [Large language model]. 




Monday, August 21, 2023



The importance of maintaining psychological health and safety (PH&S) in the workplace has become increasingly recognized in recent years. This article explores the detrimental effects of low levels of PH&S on both individual employees and organizations, offering an insight into the wide-ranging impacts of not prioritizing mental well-being in professional settings.



The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community’ (WHO, 2004). In the context of work, low levels of PH&S can have profound implications.


1. Effects on Individual Employees


1.1.        Decreased Job Satisfaction


Low PH&S levels correlate with reduced job satisfaction (Harter, Schmidt, & Keyes, 2003). Employees who feel unsupported or stressed by workplace conditions are less likely to feel positive about their roles or employer.


1.2.        Mental Health Disorders


A lack of support and increased workplace stress can lead to heightened risks for mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety (Theorell, Hammarström, Aronsson, Träskman Bendz, Grape, Hogstedt, & Hall, 2015).


1.3.        Burnout


Burnout, characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment, is more prevalent in environments with low PH&S (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001).


1.4.        Physical Health Implications


Stress in the workplace can manifest in physical symptoms, including sleep disturbances, cardiovascular diseases, and a weakened immune system (Chandola, Brunner, & Marmot, 2006).


2.       Effects on Organizations


2.1.        Reduced Productivity


Employees facing psychological distress or burnout are more likely to have reduced productivity levels, affecting the overall output of the organization (Goetzel, Ozminkowski, Sederer, & Mark, 2002).


2.2.        Increased Absenteeism


Organizations with low PH&S tend to have higher absentee rates as employees take time off due to stress-related illnesses or mental health disorders (Hilton, Whiteford, Sheridan, Cleary, Chant, Wang, & Kessler, 2008).


2.3.        High Turnover Rates


Workplaces that don't prioritize PH&S often experience high employee turnover, resulting in increased recruitment and training costs (Hom, & Griffeth, 1995).


2.4.        Poor Organizational Reputation


In the age of transparency and employee reviews on platforms like Glassdoor, low PH&S can tarnish an organization's public image (Willness, Steel, & Lee, 2007).


2.5.        Legal and Financial Implications


Companies may face legal consequences if found negligent in maintaining PH&S standards, leading to fines or lawsuits (Leka, & Jain, 2010).


3.       Broader Societal Impact


Societies bear the burden of reduced PH&S in workplaces in the form of increased healthcare costs, reduced economic output, and broader public health concerns (Sauter, Murphy, & Hurrell, 1990).




Ignoring psychological health and safety in the workplace not only jeopardizes individual well-being but also threatens the very fabric of organizations and societies. It is imperative for modern businesses to recognize and act upon these challenges, ensuring that workplaces are not just places of business but also sanctuaries of well-being.




Chandola, T., Brunner, E., & Marmot, M. (2006). Chronic stress at work and the metabolic syndrome: prospective study. BMJ, 332(7540), 521-525. 


Goetzel, R. Z., Ozminkowski, R. J., Sederer, L. I., & Mark, T. L. (2002). The business case for quality mental health services: Why employers should care about the mental health and well-being of their employees. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 44(4), 320-330. 


Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Keyes, C. L. (2003). Well-being in the workplace and its relationship to business outcomes: A review of the Gallup studies. Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well-lived, 205-224.


Hilton, M. F., Whiteford, H. A., Sheridan, J. S., Cleary, C. M., Chant, D. C., Wang, P. S., & Kessler, R. C. (2008). The prevalence of psychological distress in employees and associated occupational risk factors. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 50(7), 746-757. 


Hom, P. W., & Griffeth, R. W. (1995). Employee turnover. South-Western Publishers. 


Leka, S., & Jain, A. (2010). Health impact of psychosocial hazards at work: an overview. World Health Organization.


Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual review of psychology, 52(1), 397-422.


OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar23 version) [Large language model].


Sauter, S. L., Murphy, L. R., & Hurrell Jr, J. J. (1990). Prevention of work-related psychological disorders. American Psychologist, 45(10), 1146. 


Theorell, T., Hammarström, A., Aronsson, G., Träskman Bendz, L., Grape, T., Hogstedt, C., ... & Hall, C. (2015). A systematic review including meta-analysis of work environment and depressive symptoms. BMC public health, 15(1), 738. 


Willness, C. R., Steel, P., & Lee, K. (2007). A meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of workplace sexual harassment. Personnel psychology, 60(1), 127-162.


World Health Organization (WHO). (2004). Promoting Mental Health: Concepts, Emerging Evidence, Practice. Geneva: WHO. 


Monday, August 14, 2023


In the vast ecosystem of organisational success, two types of intellectual assets stand out: human capital and structural capital. While structural capital embodies the knowledge, systems, and processes inherent in an organisation, human capital focuses on the talents, skills, and competencies of its workforce. This essay seeks to underscore the pivotal role of human capital in optimising an organisation's structural capital, thereby ensuring sustained competitive advantage and superior performance.


Before discussing the interplay between human and structural capital, herewith a brief description of each:


·      Human Capital: It pertains to the knowledge, skills, and abilities of employees. It's what individuals bring to an organisation, from problem-solving skills to innovative ideas, to relationship-building capabilities (Sen, Kumar, and Biswal, 2023).

·      Structural Capital: This represents the non-human storehouses of knowledge in an organisation, like databases, organisational procedures, information systems, and corporate culture (Sen et al, 2023; Van Winkelen and and McKenzie, 2009).


Human Capital is indeed needed to be the driver of structural capital optimisation via the following interactions (Bouzakhem, Farmanesh, Zargar, Ramadan, Baydoun, Daouk, and Mouazen, 2023; Shrivastava, Ikonen, Savolainen, and Dorjgotov, 2021):


·      Knowledge Management: The effectiveness of structural capital lies in its apt utilisation. Human capital, with its inherent expertise and experience, plays a pivotal role in cataloguing, updating, and leveraging the knowledge repositories to their full potential (Markić, Požega, and Crnković, 2022).

·      Cultural Ambassadors: Organisational culture, a significant component of structural capital, is not just written in manuals but is lived daily by employees. It's the human capital that brings this culture to life, ensuring that it's more than just a set of documented ideals.

·      Continuous Improvement: Structural processes and procedures require regular updates to stay relevant. The feedback loop from employees—those at the forefront of industry changes—is invaluable in refining these processes (Tseng, Wang and Yen, 2014).

·      Innovation Through Collaboration: While structural capital can house knowledge, it is the human capital that breathes life into this knowledge. The collaborative efforts of teams can lead to novel ways of leveraging existing systems, thus optimising structural assets (Tseng, Wang and Yen, 2014).


There are therefore specific implications for organisations in assisting with this optimisation (Sen et al, 2023; Van Winkelen et al, 2009):


·      Investment in Training and Development: To ensure that human capital can effectively leverage and optimise structural capital, continuous training and skill development become imperative. An employee familiar with the latest technological systems can better harness the power of organisational databases.

·      Feedback Mechanisms: Establishing robust feedback mechanisms ensures that insights from human capital are seamlessly integrated into refining structural assets.

·      Balancing Stability and Agility: While structural capital offers stability, it's the human capital that provides agility. Organisations must find a balance, allowing structures to guide operations while also giving individuals the flexibility to innovate.

·      Retention Strategies: The optimization of structural capital is a continuous journey, and retaining experienced employees, who understand the intricacies of these structures, becomes crucial. High employee turnover can lead to a disconnect between the human and structural elements of intellectual capital.


While structural capital forms the backbone of an organisation, human capital serves as its lifeblood. The symbiotic relationship between the two ensures that the organisation not only preserves and stores knowledge but also uses it effectively. To optimise structural capital, businesses must focus on nurturing, developing, and retaining their human assets. In the interplay between factors, such as, human capabilities, intuition and structural processes, lies the secret ingredients of organisational success.




Bouzakhem, N., Farmanesh, P., Zargar, P., Ramadan, M., Baydoun, H., Daouk, A., and Mouazen, A. (2023). Rebuilding the Workplace in the Post-Pandemic Age through Human Capital Development Programs: A Moderated Mediation Model.  Administrative Sciences (2076-3387). Jul2023, Vol. 13 Issue 7.


Mara, C.,  Govender, C., and  Makka, A. (2021).  Contribution of Human Capital Development (Hcd) to Organisational Effectiveness in the Southern African Hospitality Industry.  African Journal of Business & Economic Research. Sep2021, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p195-214.


Markić, M’, Požega, Ž.,  and Crnković, B. (2022). The Impact of Knowledge Management on the Economic Indicators of the Companies. South East European Journal of Economics and Business Volume 17 (2) 2022, 34-48. 


Ray, C., Nyberg, A., and  Maltarich, M.A. (2023).  Human Capital Resources Emergence Theory: The Role of Social Capital.  Academy of Management Review. Apr2023, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p313-335.


Sen, L., Kumar, A., and Biswal, S.K. (2023).  An Inferential Response of Organizational Culture upon Human Capital Development: A Justification on the Healthcare Service Sector. Folia Oeconomica Stetinensia. Jun2023, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p208-227.


Shrivastava, P.,  Ikonen, M., Savolainen, T., and  Dorjgotov, E. (2021).  Developing and Sustaining Trust within Human Capital during Organisational Transformation.  Nordic Journal of Business. Autumn2021, Vol. 70 Issue 3, p207-223.


Tseng, J-F.,  Wang, H-K, and  Yen, Y-F. (2014). Organisational innovability: exploring the impact of human and social capital in the banking industry.  Total Quality Management & Business Excellence. 2014, Vol. 25 Issue 9/10, p1088-1104.


van Winkelen, C., and McKenzie, J. (2019). Using Scenarios to Explore the Potential for Shifts in the Relative Priority of Human, Structural and Relational Capital in Generating Value.  Proceedings of the European Conference on Intellectual Capital. 2009, p501-508.