Health & Wellbeing Program
Trading as Galactic® Scientific, we provide advanced technical expertise across multiple industries. Our multidisciplinary team can provide a variety of maintenance, repair and training services to all forms of laboratories and to the broadcast and telecommunications industries.
As a worker-owned co-operative, the workplace health and wellbeing of our members and employees is one of our top values. Besides making people happier and avoiding unnecessary suffering from preventable health issues, good workplace health and wellbeing is also good for business, contributing to improved productivity and creativity, decreased sick days and staff turnover.
In line with our organisational values, our Workplace Health & Wellbeing Program has the full support from the Governing Fellows (Board of Directors) and all Members of Galactic Co-operative.
Galactic's workplace health and wellbeing program is led by our Health and Wellbeing Manager, Stephanie Black. Stephanie is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of Galactic's members and employees whilst improving business profitability through streamlining of processes. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge regarding health and safety, mental wellbeing, and management systems to Galactic Co-operative from two decades of experience in the technology and resources sectors. Stephanie holds a BSc(Hons) in Psychology and an Advanced Diploma in Work Health & Safety. Stephanie is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Western Australia, and she is working on attaining accreditation as a Certified Ergonomics and Human Factors Professional.
Each year we design an annual workplace health and wellbeing action plan by identifying a number of objectives to target wellbeing risk factors in the following broad areas: organisational policy, physical environment; healthy lifestyle, and health and mental wellbeing.
As part of this annual process we conduct a fully anonymous health and wellbeing survey based on the People at Work framework. We focus on assessing key psychosocial hazards that have been associated with poor mental health and wellbeing, job burnout, lower productivity, increased sickness absence, and physical disorders, amongst others. The psychosocial hazards assessed include both job demands and job resources, as research has demonstrated that workers are more likely to experience occupational stress when demands are high and resources are low. The staff survey also assesses incidence and severity of health complaints to help us to develop targeted support and mitigation strategies.
This is followed by a presentation of the consolidated survey results to all staff. We use this as a starting point for a consultative process to agree on the top targets to focus on for the year. Once the top priority targets have been established, we decide on individual objectives and measures for each target and then brainstorm strategies to achieve the targets. Based on the decided priorities we design and agree on a detailed action plan. We review the action plan to ensure the areas of organisational policy, physical environment, healthy lifestyle factors (i.e., smoking cessation, lower alcohol use, healthy nutrition and physical activity), and health and mental wellbeing risk factors are covered adequately and in a balanced manner. We further make sure to include a significant amount of health and wellbeing training for each area.
For each target objective in the annual health and wellbeing action plan, we establish SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) KPIs. The top three targets are selected to be published on the QHSE dashboard. These are reviewed and signed off during the QHSE Management review meetings.
Annual Surveys & Consultations
In the inaugural year of our workplace health and wellbeing initiative, after evaluation of a baseline survey and extensive consultation with all staff, we decided to focus on the following three top issues for the year:
- Cognitive Demand,
- Problems with sleep, and
- Procedural justice/role ambiguity.
After evaluation of our first followup survey and extensive consultation with all staff, we decided to focus on the following three top issues for the year:
- Cognitive demand,
- Group task conflict, and
- Bullying by a co-worker.
After evaluation of our second followup survey and extensive consultation with all staff, we decided to focus on the following three top issues for the year:
- Cognitive demand,
- Emotional demand, and
- Muscular-skeletal complaints.
Our 2018 baseline health & wellbeing survey results.
Action Plan 2018 - 2020
Our consolidated Action Plan for 2018-2020 spans 12 main areas. Each area has a dedicated objective, measure and KPI. Each area also comprises a selection of aligned strategies to achieve the KPIs, resulting in a total of 32 strategies. Below is a quick overview of the 12 targets with links if you want to jump ahead to a particular area.
1. Wellbeing Framework and Policy
- Establish conditions conducive to improving workplace health and wellbeing, such as administrative powers and policy.
Strategy 1a: Establish administrative infrastructure for wellbeing
- Appoint a workplace health and wellbeing manager and get her trained as HWWA Coordinator.
- Update our OSH policy to include Wellbeing: It's now the Occupational Health, Safety, Security and Wellbeing Policy.
- Update Galactic's training matrix to include a wellbeing segment.
- Include a wellbeing Category in the Co-operative’s annual QHSE Targets and agree top three targets for each year.
Strategy 1b: Establish a regular survey and workshop to measure workplace health and wellbeing
- Establish an Ethics Committee to ensure ethical surveys.
- Conduct a baseline survey and annual follow-up surveys based on the People at Work framework.
- Annually conduct a workshop presenting the survey results; determine the highest priority action items based on the survey results and agree a detailed action plan.
Strategy 1c: Pursue external recognition to increase staff wellbeing motivation
- Promote Galactic’s approach to workplace health and wellbeing at the “Creating a mentally healthy Workplace" event of the Institute of Managers and Leaders.
- Achieve first Silver and then Gold Healthy Workplace status.
- Participate in the WA Work Health and Safety Excellence Awards in the category Best Workplace Health and Wellbeing Initiative.
2. Physical Environment
- Achieve a decrease in complaints about the physical work environment.
- Number of complaints about the physical work environment.
Strategy 2a: Improve physical environment
- Move to new and improved premises which offer an increased physical environment for staff.
- Install air conditioning.
Strategy 2b: Conduct training about the handling of environmental threats
- Conduct heat stress training.
- Conduct sun protection training.
- Conduct air quality and venting training.
Hanging up our shingle at the new premises in 2018 (whilst dressed like a pirate on Talk Like a Pirate Day).
- Decrease number of smokers.
- Number of smoking employees.
Strategy 3a: Provide for smoking cessation in policy
- Update drug and alcohol policy to include cigarettes, adding section on aiding any potential new employees with a smoking habit in the cessation thereof.
- Add reminder to staff induction that if anyone has or develops a smoking habit, quit help is available as per policy.
Strategy 3b: Remove opportunity and mental reminders for smoking
- Remove dedicated smoking location.
- Join the Your Spot initiative to establish a regular working bee to remove cigarette butts dropped by adjoining business or passers-by from our verge.
- Continue Your Spot initiative to regularly remove cigarette butts dropped by adjoining business or passers-by from our verge.
As of 2018 Galactic Co-operative have ZERO smokers amongst its members & employees.
4. Alcohol Use
- Decrease serving of alcohol at business functions.
- Number of business functions with alcohol served.
Strategy 4a: Provide for alcohol use cessation in policy
- Update drug and alcohol policy, adding section on aiding employees to decrease their alcohol use.
Strategy 4b: Encourage low/no alcohol use for entertainment
- Encourage low/no alcohol use for entertainment.
- Update drug and alcohol policy, adding section on low/no alcohol use for entertainment.
Strategy 4c: Healthy lifestyle education
- Research health impacts of drinking at small to moderate to higher levels.
- Present on health impacts of drinking at small to moderate to higher levels.
As of 2019 Galactic Co-operative started serving Kombucha - a non-alcoholic fizzy drink - at functions at Galactic Co-operative's premises (photo: CancerWA).
- Provide space and opportunity for healthy eating.
- Status and usage of eating space.
Strategy 6a: Establish a healthy eating space
- Designate lunch room.
- Renovate lunch room.
- Furnish lunch room.
Strategy 6b: Educate about healthy eating
- Research Healthy Eating.
- Presentation on Healthy Eating.
- Research Removing Barriers to Healthy Eating.
- Presentation on Removing Barriers to Healthy Eating.
From Healthier Workplace WA (2020)
6. Physical Activity
- Become YourMove certified as an easy indicator.
- Certification achievement.
Strategy 5a: Join Your Move and conduct various activities to address sedentary behaviour
- Establish a pool bike for employee use.
- Upgrade bicycle storage facility.
- Organise a workplace lunchtime bike ride.
- Seminar to promote bike and public transport travel options to staff.
- Establish a fortnightly Friday afternoon cycling event.
- Achieve and maintain Silver Your Move recognition.
- Continue our established Your Move activities throughout the year.
Strategy 5b: Education on Sedentary Behaviour
- Presentation on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour.
- Presentation on Removing Barriers to Physical Activity.
7. Cognitive Demand
- Decrease cognitive demand.
- Cognitive demand item in the health and wellbeing survey.
Strategy 7a: Improve ease of access to information
- Improve access to information by implementing “Galactic Gateway”.
Strategy 7b: Optimise workflows to streamline and simplify processes
- Research and plan implementation of a QHSE system in line with ISO 9001 and 13001 where possible, prioritising avoidance of unnecessary complexity.
- Gain ratification of QHSE implementation plan.
- Implement basic QHSE system framework.
- Populate the QHSE system with most high priority procedures and checklists, avoiding unnecessary complexity.
- Optimise the highest priority existing workflows to streamline processes and remove unnecessary complexity.
- Poll staff for their top 3 remaining most complex job tasks (after the above has been implemented/streamlined).
- Prioritise staff's top remaining complex job tasks when further updating and streamlining procedures.
Strategy 7c: Decrease multitasking
- Educate people on detrimental effects of multitasking.
- Educate people on how to minimise multitasking.
- Research additional info to add to presentations on multitasking.
- Extended presentation on multitasking.
Strategy 7d: Decrease information overload
- Poll staff for most frequently sought information.
- Include the above in Galactic Gateway.
The cognitive job demand indicators at Galactic Co-operative have declined since the inception of our workplace health and wellbeing program. On the graph the target figures are shown in a lightly shaded red, the achieved actuals are shown in bold red.
8. Role/Task Conflict
- Decrease the composite role/task conflict index (average of the indicators for procedural justice/role ambiguity, group task conflict and role conflict).
- Composite role/task conflict index from the health and wellbeing survey.
Strategy 9a: Clarify role definitions
- Collate position descriptions and accountability/responsibility (RACI chart) and make available to staff in personnel folder.
- Discuss position descriptions and accountability/responsibility (RACI chart) during Governing Fellows’ Retreat.
Strategy 9b: Improve consultation
- Instigate non-adversive performance review process with significant time devoted to discuss role clarifications, requests to change and personal development goals.
- Continue non-adversive performance review process instigated last year with significant time devoted to discuss role clarifications, requests to change and personal development goals.
Strategy 9c: Decrease workload
- Research Productivity Tools to reduce stress and improve wellbeing.
- Present on Productivity Tools to reduce stress and improve wellbeing.
- Research VIA Signature Strengths.
- Presentation on VIA Signature Strengths.
The composite role/task conflict index (average of procedural justice/role ambiguity, group task conflict and role conflict items in wellbeing survey) at Galactic Co-operative has declined since the inception of our workplace health and wellbeing program.
9. Emotional Demand
- Decrease emotional demand.
- Emotional demand item in the health and wellbeing survey.
Strategy 11a: Reduce over-exposure to emotional tasks
- Poll staff for their most emotionally demanding tasks.
- Research options for minimise the above tasks and prepare presentation.
- Present on minimising exposure to emotional tasks.
Strategy 11b: Provide education on handling fallout from emotional task (over-)exposure
- Research on best practice for handling fallout from emotional task (over-)exposure.
- Present on best practice for handling fallout from emotional task (over-)exposure.
Strategy 11c: Educate on mindfulness and compassion fatigue
- Research compassion fatigue.
- Present on compassion fatigue.
The emotional demand index at Galactic Co-operative has declined since the inception of our workplace health and wellbeing program.
- Decrease bullying reports.
- Bullying reports item in the health and wellbeing survey.
Strategy 10a: Develop Code of Conduct
- Consultation and workshop to agree on a Code of Conduct, including a focus on bullying prevention.
Strategy 10b: Implement Code of Conduct
- Ratify the Code of Conduct, have all employees sign it.
Incidences of bullying at Galactic Co-operative have declined since the inception of our workplace health and wellbeing program. Our target for 2020 is zero bullying.
11. Sleep Problems
- Decrease incidence and severity of sleep problems.
- Sleep problems item in the health and wellbeing survey.
Strategy 8a: Provide Napping Room
- Designate nap room.
- Renovate nap room.
- Procure furniture.
- Procure bedding.
- Affix signage, including sign that can be toggled to "Do not disturb" or "Free".
Strategy 8b: Educate on Napping
- Research best practice for napping.
- Prepare a presentation on best practice for napping.
- Present on best practice for napping.
Strategy 8c: Educate on sleep hygiene and lifestyle factors conducive to healthy sleep
- Research sleep hygiene and healthy lifestyle factors conducive to healthy sleep.
- Prepare a presentation on sleep hygiene and healthy lifestyle factors conducive to healthy sleep.
- Present on sleep hygiene and healthy lifestyle factors conducive to healthy sleep.
The severity of sleep problems at Galactic Co-operative has declined since the inception of our workplace health and wellbeing program. On the graph the target figures are shown in a lightly shaded green, the achieved actuals are shown in bold green.
12. Musculoskeletal Complaints
- Decrease incidence and severity of musculoskeletal complaints.
- Muscular-skeletal complaints item in the health and wellbeing survey.
Strategy 12a: Remaining sedentary during long work hours
- Research desk exercises to break up long work days.
- Present on desk exercises.
Strategy 12b: Educate on Manual Handling & Lifting
- Research Manual Handling and Lifting.
- Conduct Manual Handling and Lifting Training.
Strategy 12c: Improve ergonomic adjustments
- Provide ergonomics training to Health & Wellbeing Manager.
- Presentation on lessons learned from above.
- Conduct individual ergonomic adjustments.
Muscular-skeletal complaints at Galactic Co-operative have declined since the inception of our workplace health and wellbeing program. Our 2020 target is to remain low.
Performance Indicators 2018-2020
It was decided during QHSE and Management Review Meetings to prioritise the below three top KPIs for our workplace health and wellbeing initiative. These three indicators give a great snapshot of the success of our workplace health and wellbeing initiative.
The Galactic Wellbeing Initiative In The Media
As part of us winning the WA Work Health and Safety Excellence Awards 2019 Best workplace health and wellbeing initiative (199 employees or less) our initiative was showcased on page 18 of the Finalists booklet.
Galactic's CEO Kate Biondo and Health and Wellbeing Manager Stephanie Black were interviewed by OSH Alert. The interview was published through OSH Alert's subscription service as "Case study: streamlining work procedures reduces stress".
Stephanie Black and Dr Kate Ringvall have been invited to present on "Ensuring Management Buy-in for Psychological Wellbeing Programs" at the 7th Psychological Injury Management in the Workplace Congress, Melbourne, Australia.