Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Psychological Health and Safety Index (PHSI-S)

The Psychological Health and Safety Index (PHSI-S) measures a person's perception of his/her psychological health and safety as it pertains to six dimensions:

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ 9700-803/2018) defines psychological health as 'a state of complete physical, social, and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity; 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'

The same standard defines psychological safety as 'the absence of harm and/or threat of harm to mental well-being that a worker might experience' and states that a psychologically healthy and safe workplace is 'a workplace that promotes workers' psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to worker psychological health including in negligent, reckless, or intentional ways'

The Psychological Health and Safety Index (PHSI-S) is a reflection of an organisation's employees' experience and perception of the six psychological health and safety dimensions in the workplace.


This dimension refers to work-related hazards of a psychological and psychosocial nature, and the severity of injury and ill-health that can be caused by these hazards, inclusive of psychological injury, such as depression, suicidal ideation, psychosomatic and physical health reactions (hypertension, migraines). Hazards of a psychological and psychosocial nature include aspects of work organization, social factors at work, work environment, equipment and hazardous tasks (ISO 45001). 


This dimension refers to psychological health, which is defined as 'a state of well-being in which an individual realises his/her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her/his community' (World Health Organisation).  Psychological/mental health is also often expressed as the absence of psychological symptomology, such as, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and others.  Employees suffering from psychological ill-health, are often present at work, yet do not fully contribute to productivity as they are often 'mentally absent', e.g. experience low concentration levels and lack of confidence to execute tasks.  Psychological ill-health can be caused by workplace psychological hazards and/or originate from situations outside the workplace, including but not limited to, relationship strife, financial difficulties, and societal disturbances.     


The causes of physical health problems may be physiological, biological and genetical.  Physical health problems could also be caused by psycho-social causes, such as stress and fear.  The adverse effects of physical health on the psychological wellness of an employee are well documented in research literature, and include lowered concentration levels, presenteeism, self-depreciation, and the like.  These, in turn, affect psychological safety directly, and could lead to increased work-related accidents, interpersonal conflict, and decreased productivity.


Psychological stress is defined as 'a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being'.  

Burnout is a psychological syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation (mental distance), and reduced personal/professional accomplishments, in which the person has no positive feelings, sympathy, or respect for their job. Burnout occurs as a result of prolonged response to chronic stressors in the workplace. It has a wide range of psychological, physical, and behavioural problems which will not only have a negative impact on an individual's work-life but also their personal life.

Fatigue is a state of unrelenting exhaustion, lasts longer than mere acute tiredness, is more profound and isn't relieved by rest. It's a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time and reduces a person's energy, motivation and concentration. Fatigue at this level impacts a person's emotional and psychological well-being.  Occupational fatigue can be caused by chronic stress states, physical over exertion, ill health, lifestyle choices, such as alcoholism, obesity, and the like.  These causes could also be situated outside of work parameters, yet cause fatigue in the employee, for example, interrupted sleeping habits, relational difficulties, and financial distress.


Work-life-balance refers to a state of equilibrium between the demands that are placed on an individual from a work perspective and a personal life perspective. Individuals who report low levels of work-life-balance (i.e. have conflict between their work demands and personal life demands) are up to 12 times more prone to experience burnout and two to three times more likely to experience depression, compared to those individuals with better work-life balance.  (World Health Organization: WHO Healthy Workplace Framework and Model).



Coping capability refers to various personal abilities and perceptions which will allow the person to either cope with difficult situations and to manage them effectively and efficiently, or not.  Some people use humour, have confidence to assert themselves positively during conflict, exhibit resilience when workload increases, show 'bounce back ability' if adversity happens, have strong interpersonal support systems, apply high levels of EQ, don't get upset easily, understand others, etc.  These behaviours, and many more, assist employees to cope with life and work.  The opposite is also true.


The PHSI is the composite of the equally weighted six psychological health and safety factors measured in this survey.  This composite should be interpreted together with the individual factors assessed.  For example, the PHSI might present favourable, yet one or two of the individual factors, such as, stress-fatigue-burnout, might present less favourable.  Managers should then focus on the less optimal factor, do further root cause analysis, and implement improvement practices. 

Absenteeism-Presenteeism Risk Indicator (APRI)

The Absenteeism-Presenteeism Risk Indicator is determined by calculating the inverse of the PHSI.  It indicates the risk that employees, due to adverse psychological health and safety factors prevalent in the organisation, will either excessively be absent and/or behave with presenteeism, that is attend work whilst unwell, hence not contributing productively and cost optimally to the tasks they are assigned.  The APRI needs to be factored into the calculation of the cost of absenteeism-presenteeism in an organisation.

Psychological Hazards-Safety Risk Indicator

The Psychological Hazards-Safety Risk Indicator is the risk associated with high levels of psychological hazards and mentally unsafe working environments.  These hazards and environments could include excessive workload, unsafe physical work conditions, autocratic management practices, toxic cultural environment, workplace bullying, job insecurity, various types of harassment, physical and interpersonal violence, unfair remuneration practices, and the like.  

Psychological Health Risk Indicator

The Psychological Health Risk Indicator is the risk that psychological ill-health, such as depression among employees can affect productivity, and increase absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee turnover and replacement.  The cost of this risk factor is mostly 'invisible' and not calculated/taken into consideration when determining possible absenteeism-presenteeism and employee turnover and replacement costs and trends.  

Physical Health Risk Indicator

The Physical Health Risk Indicator refers to the absence of health, such as, chronic and recurring minor physical illness.  This risk factor has a direct impact on employee costs, such as, temporary staff appointments.  It also has indirect/opportunity costs implications, including extra workload burden on team members and supervisors, which may cause errors in work, and re-working.  This may, in turn, generate other direct costs, such as overtime.  Organisations should include this riks factor when calculating direct employee costs, as well as absenteeism-presenteeism costs.    

Stress-Burnout-Fatigue Risk Indicator

The Stress-Burnout-Fatigue Risk Indicator measures the risk associated with employees' unproductive management of stress, leading to fatigue and burnout.  This risk factor also directly feeds into the absenteeism-presenteeism risk factor, and should therefore be take into account when calculating these costs.  

Work-Life-Balance Risk Indicator

The Work-Life-Balance Risk Indicator is the risk associated with work-life imbalance, and has a direct impact on employee functioning.  Individuals who report low levels of work-life-balance (i.e. have conflict between their work demands and personal life demands) are up to 12 times more prone to experience burnout and two to three times more likely to experience depression, compared to those individuals with better work-life balance.   

Coping Capability Risk Indicator

The Coping Capability Risk Indicator is the risk associated with employees' inability to cope with e.g. work-related pressures; life problems; personal adversities.  In many cases, employees utilise unproductive coping mechanisms, such as, excessive alcohol usage, violence, avoidance, and disengagement from work.  These all eventually add to employee costs, whether direct or indirect.  This risk factor has a direct bearing on absenteeism-presenteeism, employee turnover and replacement costs.  


Monday, February 14, 2022

Management Competency Observational Index (M-COI

The Management Competency Observational Index (M-COI) measures current management potential as pertaining to TWELVE management competency areas:



Self-management refers to the candidates competency set enabling him/her to manage self in areas such as EQ, Values, Professionalism, Stress, Wellness, Development, and Work-Life balance.

Leadership is the ability to influence others towards goal achievement.  In the modern era various leadership constructs and approaches exist, such as, servant, authentic, and neuro leadership.  All of them still fit with the two broad leadership approaches, namely transactional and transformational.  The modern-day leader should be able to competently manoeuvre amongst situations, by selecting and applying the most productive leadership approach at that time - contingency leadership.  John Maxwell famously said that everything rises and falls with leadership.  Leadership competency is in high demand as effective leaders achieve higher engagement of the human capital component in the organisation via motivation, fairness, clarity of vision, and the like.

Operational management competencies refer to the classic management functions, such as, planning, organising, controlling, project management, and budgeting.  These competencies allow the person to effectively manage the resources of the organisation in an efficient manner, thereby increasing the return on assets and capital invested. for the shareholders and/or owners.  

Knowledge refers to the candidate's knowledge of job-related technical content & and organisational matters, e.g. strategies, culture and politics.  People with high levels of knowledge usually provide higher return on human, intellectual and knowledge capital for the organisation, as their knowledge levels allow them to operate highly efficiently. 

Thinking & problem solving refer to a very specific competency set which includes the ability to diagnose problems and get to their root causes, by applying both analytical as well as creative thinking modalities.  It also suggests competent utilisation of of team processes, as well as the abilities to formulate recommendations, calculate cost-benefit, implement and measure the effectiveness of implementation. 

Decision-making competencies include elements such as understanding one's range of authority, circle of influence, EQ, resilience, logical-rational thinking, risk analysis, and monitoring and evaluation.  Highly competent managers utilise a clear methodology to reach and execute decisions.  They also possess the necessary assertiveness and resilience to 'push through' in the face of resistance.  Their high EQ competencies allow them to work with a team, as well as to change direction, if the situation so demands/indicates. 

Communication is the information 'blood flow' of the organisation.  Managers who communicate clearly, craft their messages for their audience, listen effectively, and feed back to the team continuously, make for highly competent managers in this area.

Organisations are social environments and people are its human capital.  Managers who manage their teams of people with high levels of interpersonal competencies, such as diversity management, conflict handling, motivation, care, and the like, are usually very successful.  These organisations are inevitably characterised by engaged and productive employees, and very low levels of disciplinary issues and staff turnover. 

Steve Jobs (late CEO of Apple) maintained that teams of people make an organisation work, not committees and/or heavily layered bureaucracies.  He is of course on point here, as the synergies created by highly efficient teams of people, unlock vast potential for the organisation - think about all the innovations at companies such as Google, Amazon, and many others.  Competent team focussed managers know how to construct, enable, develop and resource their teams.  These managers are also very good at coaching and facilitating cooperation among team members.  They also do not shy away from managing team conflicts effectively, nor to reward great performances. 

Human capital refers to the skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by employees, viewed in terms of their value to an organisation.  In the modern day, managers should view their employees as valuable units of human capital, i.e. an investment on which the organisation can make a return,  versus employees simply being viewed as a cost to company.  The human capital approach leads to the application of management competencies, such as, scientific recruitment practice, learning & development, talent pipe line and talent management.  The most recent development in the field of people metrics, also becomes part of the competent human capital manager. 

Managers who possess high levels of total quality management (TQM) competencies, add continuous value to the organisation's quality and profitability margins.  Via their operational management competencies, they focus on continuous improvement, lean management, reduction of waste, and strive for zero defect products and services.  In their quest for extreme high levels of quality, they employ evidence based/empirical problem solving and decision-making principles, and measure people, processes and products continuously, in order to create optimal organisational functioning and outputs. 

The modern-day organisation finds itself operating in an increasingly VUCA environment - Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic and Ambiguous.  Change is therefore the only constant!  It is also one of the management competency areas which is scarce in supply.  Managers who have mastered the art and science of change management, understand and apply competencies, such as, change planning, team involvement, using change champions/agents, communicate effectively, create a sense of urgency, celebrate the wins, consolidate the changes, and effectively deal with resistances.