The Standard: Thirteen Factors

 13 Psycological Factors

The Standard:

Thirteen Factors of Psychological Health and Safety
in the Workplace

  1. Psychological Support is an environment supportive of employees’ psychological and mental health concerns, and responds appropriately.
  2. Organizational Culture is a work environment characterized by trust, honesty, and fairness.
  3. Clear Leadership & Expectations is effective leadership and support that helps employees know what they need to do, how their work contributes to the organization, and whether there are impending changes.
  4. Civility & Respect is where interactions are respectful and considerate.
  5. Psychological Competencies & Requirements is a good fit between employees’ interpersonal and emotional competencies and the requirements of the position.
  6. Growth & Development is encouragement and support for the development of employee interpersonal, emotional and job skills.
  7. Recognition & Reward includes appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of employees’ efforts in a fair and timely manner.
  8. Involvement & Influence is where employees are included in discussions about how their work is done and how important decisions are made.
  9. Workload Management is where tasks and responsibilities can be accomplished successfully within the time available.
  10. Engagement is where workers feel connected to their work and are motivated to do their job well.
  11. Balance is where there is recognition of the need for balance between the demands of work, family and personal life.
  12. Psychological Protection is where psychological safety is ensured, workers feel able to ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes and problems, or propose a new idea without fearing negative consequences.
  13. Protection of Physical Safety is where appropriate action to protect the physical safety of employees.

Visit Guarding Minds at Work for more complete descriptions and resources.

The National Standard - A (musical) introduction

Watch as the 13 factors of The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace get the musical treatment at the 2015 Bottom Line Conference.

What are psychological factors?

Psychological factors are elements that impact employees’ psychological responses to work and work conditions, potentially causing psychological health problems. Psychological factors include the way work is carried out (deadlines, workload, work methods) and the context in which work occurs (including relationships and interactions with managers and supervisors, colleagues and coworkers, and clients or customers).

How were the 13 psychological factors in Guarding Minds @ Work (GM@W) determined?

The 13 Psychological Factors were determined via a Grounded Theory approach, which involved a thorough review of relevant literature and extensive consultation with Canadian employers, unions and employees. This included the following steps:

  • Review of the scientific literature pertaining to workplace mental health.
  • Review of relevant Canadian regulatory and case law pertaining to the workplace and psychological safety.
  • Formation of an advisory committee which provided input on each step of the development of GM@W. The committee consisted of representatives from the mental health, scientific, union, occupational health and employer communities.
  • Consultation with experts in workplace mental health from countries and jurisdictions with well-developed workplace psychosocial risk assessment resources.
  • Implementation of focus groups across Canada with key stakeholders – legal professionals, union representatives, small and large employers, employees and researchers – to provide input into the description and relevance of the Psychological factors.
  • Implementation of a national survey amongst a diverse array of informants to gain input into the description and sample questions for each of the 13 Psychological Factors.

The 13 psychological factors are consistent with domains identified by a large body of research as areas of fundamental Psychological risk; the definitions and language used here are unique to GM@W. For each of the factors, lower scores indicate greater risk to employee psychological health and organizational psychological safety; higher scores indicate greater employee and organizational resilience and sustainability. The factors are interrelated and therefore influence one another; positive or negative changes in one factor are likely to change other factors in a similar manner.