How to implement psychosocial support at workplace programme in war and post-war times

Every enterprise can now introduce a psychosocial support programme for workers at workplace.

The 4-step algorithm and supporting tools for each of them are in this section.

The tools were tested during their piloting at 12 Ukrainian enterprises/institutions employing almost 10,000 workers.

Just three months after the introduction of the psychosocial support programme in one pilot medical institution:
  • Three times fewer workers experienced stress, and it dropped significantly.
  • Three times more workers were satisfied with working conditions and felt supported by management.
Why is a worker's mental health important?

Every $1 invested in workers’ mental health support pays back $3 to $5.

Businesses concerned with the well-being of workers have more clients, higher productivity, lower turnover and fewer accidents.

Read the tips for each step below, and you can do the same for your enterprise.

Step 1: Establishment of coordination group and situation analysis

Step 2: Development of a written policy

Step 3: Development of the programme (action plan)

Step 4: Development of a PSS programme monitoring and evaluation system

Results of the pilot initiative

Preparatory phase

Discuss with a manager the importance and benefits of psychosocial support for workers in war and post-war times — both for workers and business.

For this, it is helpful to read "Most important points for enterprise and trade union leaders in brief".

The manager should also read it.

IMPORTANT! Support of top management is the key to success in implementing this initiative.

Step 1: Establishment of coordination group and situation analysis

1.1. Establish an enterprise-level coordination group involving:
  • employer representative
  • OSH/HR specialist
  • workers' representative
  • psychologist (internal or external)
If there is no psychologist, you may consider recruiting them in the future, and in the meantime, establish cooperation with specialized centres working in your region.

1.2. Clearly define the roles of each member of the coordination group, responsible for the following:
  • development of a written policy and action plan
  • organizing policy implementation and communication system
  • organizing and holding events
  • monitoring and evaluating policy and programme.
Remember that teamwork is a lot more efficient and exciting than individual work.

1.3. Assess the current status of the PSS and available resources: what already exists and is functioning well, and what needs to be added or improved. You can use a questionnaire to assess resources and analyze the situation.

1.4. Assess the psychosocial needs of the enterprise's workers. They know best what would be helpful for them. You can conduct an anonymous survey using a questionnaire. You can remove unnecessary questions or add questions that matter to you.

Read more about the assessment of psychological state in the material ”Briefly about what is important for workers”, as well as about the situation analysis in presentation No1.

Step 2: Development of a written policy

2.1. Draft a written policy on psychosocial support in at workplace in war and post-war times. You can use the the template as a basis.

Key components:
  • Brief statement of intention
  • Goals of PSS implementation
  • Terms and definitions
  • Obligations and responsibilities of managers and workers
  • Communication with staff, prevention, support
  • Policy monitoring and review
2.2. Agree on the draft with management, workers' representatives, and other interested parties. Approve the policy.

2.3. Present the policy to workers and get feedback.

See the presentation No2.

Step 3: Development of the programme (action plan)

3.1. Based on the results of the assessment of the psychosocial needs of workers (see Step 1, point 1.4), list the relevant measures.

3.2. Select and prioritize the measures.

3.3. Identify the resources and tools needed to implement each measure, key performance indicators, which then will be the basis of monitoring and evaluation.

3.4. Develop a plan for implementing these measures (actions) under the PSS programme. You may follow the template as a basis. It is recommended to make a plan for a year or a shorter period.

3.5. Agree on the plan with all stakeholders and implement each measure according to it.

To develop a policy and action plan, read: Information material for enterprise and trade union leaders.

One of the measures within the PSS programme can be the creation of a psychological first aid (PFA) team among staff.

PFA helpers should be able to recognize the early signs of mental health problems, provide psychological first aid, and refer for professional help if necessary.

Develop the regulations on PFA within the framework of the programme, indicating:
  • what PFA means, what its goal and benefits are
  • who do the regulations apply to
  • duties and principles of a person/team providing PFA
  • obligations of the employer within the regulations
  • what is expected from workers within the regulations
  • contacts for complaints, feedback and proposals
Agree on candidates for the team.
Organize a training on psychological first aid at workplace for them.
Provide support, including financial or other incentives, to the PFA team.

Learn more:
Step 4: Development of a PSS programme monitoring and evaluation system

It is developed at the preparatory phase – before the implementation of measures – to further determine the programme's effectiveness and efficiency and the need for improvement.

4.1. Checklist of questions which will help define the goals and methods of M&E within the PSS programme.

How will we know that:
  • the programme’s action plan is being implemented?
  • workers feel support at the workplace?
  • the psychological climate in the team is satisfactory?
  • the PSS strategy is effective?
All measures should have quantitative and/or qualitative indicators of achieving results.

The analysis of the indicators will show you what has been done and what has been done successfully/unsuccessfully, whether the situation in the enterprise has changed for the better, for example:
  • Are workers satisfied with the measures and resources within the PSS programme? (qualitative and quantitative indicators)
  • Have the overall stress level and the number of days off/sick leaves/injuries decreased? (comparative entry and exit indicators)
  • Has the level of support from managers and colleagues increased? (comparative entry and exit indicators)
4.2. Identify key data sources

These can be:
  • staff feedback
  • reports and feedback from persons concerned
  • staff data (days-off, turnover) and other data (mistakes in work, accidents, etc.)
  • and other
Data collection should not be difficult and may consist of different tools:
  • observation and a structured post-report
  • feedback questionnaire survey
  • perception pulse survey
  • specific target focus group on a certain topic
  • interview (individual or group)
See the sample survey on the perception of resources and measures within the PSS programme by workers.

4.3. Analyze the results

It is important to approach the analysis of the M&E findings critically and include both successes and problems/failures/ weaknesses of the programme. Prepare an interesting report and introduce it to every worker at enterprise.

Learn more about monitoring and evaluation of a programme of psychosocial support at workplace, as well as see presentation No 3 and presentation No 4.

Congratulations! The preparatory phase has ended, and the active phase, implementation of the PSS programme, starts now!

Results of the pilot initiative

Key conclusions and recommendations

Psychosocial support at workplace programme: a universal roadmap

Naftogaz Digital Technologies LLC

Regional Vocational and Technical Education Centre No. 1 Kremenchuk city

Central Primary Health Care Centre of Rivne City Council, Brovary Multidisciplinary Clinical Hospital, Lviv Oblast Clinical Diagnostic Centre

All-Ukrainian association of health care employers’ organizations

State Labour Service of Ukraine