Share in our insights as we build an evidence based approach for creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace with learnings from the WorkWell Program and extended partnerships.
About the evaluation
We're evaluating WorkWell to understand if the program is making a positive impact on Victorian workplaces.
WorkWell is a $50 million, 5-year government-funded program delivered in partnership with WorkSafe Victoria and the Department of Health. WorkWell aims to support employers to prevent mental injury and create safe and mentally healthy workplaces. By giving employers access to knowledge sharing, funding and resources, we support them to make systems level changes with big impacts.
In order to understand if WorkWell is making a positive impact on Victorian workplaces, we're continually evaluating the efforts and resources of the program. These include the Toolkit, the Mental Health Improvement Fund, and Learning Networks. The insight we gain through the evaluation of these program streams will form the evidence base for creating and maintaining mentally healthy workplaces across Victoria.
Emerging Outcomes of the WorkWell Program
WorkWell has completed mid-evaluation of the program, resulting in the WorkWell Emerging Outcomes Report. This report identifies key evidence-based emerging insights for creating mentally healthy workplaces, such as the importance of partnerships, and reveals the first evidence for predicting psychological safety.
Launched in June 2018, the WorkWell Toolkit is a free online tool that uses a step-by-step approach to help business leaders and decision makers prevent mental injury and promote a safe and mentally healthy workplace. It provides employers with tools and resources tailored to their business size and industry type. The Toolkit contains practical tools such as case studies, policy templates, videos, tip sheets and more. It was created with best-practice advice and resources from reputable organisations such Beyond Blue, VicHealth, RUOK, Black Dog Institute and more.
At May 2021 there are 10,000+ registered Toolkit users from more than 18 different industries, across small, medium and large businesses.
"I found the Toolkit quite easy to use. It's logical and easy to navigate ... and seemed really straightforward" – Julie Gratton, Health & Safety Manager at Aurecon (Global Engineering Organisation)
WorkWell has provided large-scale investment for 25 workplaces across 12 different industries to pilot innovative initiatives that promote positive mental health and prevent mental injury. These projects will contribute to the evidence base on how to create and maintain mentally healthy Victorian workplaces.
The Fund targets Victorian workers identified at greatest risk of mental injury including young workers (15–24), ageing workers (45+), workers in industries in transition (such as the automotive industry), and frontline workers (any workers directly facing the public such as nurses, teachers or hospitality staff).
WorkWell's Learning Networks bring workplaces and experts together to share ideas and knowledge. Business leaders receive advice and support to implement workplace initiatives that create safe and mentally healthy environments. The focus is on high-risk Victorian working populations, including young workers (15–24), ageing workers (45+), workers in industries in transition (such as the automotive industry), and frontline workers (any workers directly facing the public such as nurses, teachers or hospitality staff).These networks will contribute to the evidence base on how to create and maintain mentally healthy Victorian workplaces. In total, there are 6 learning networks across 4 industries, funded at $3.5 million dollars.
How we are evaluating WorkWell (methods)
We are using a range of different methods to evaluate the WorkWell program:
The Workplace Wellbeing Insights Survey is a truly innovative self-assessment tool for businesses to measure the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce. It is designed to assess the workplace against eleven work-related factors that impact psychological health. It consists of two surveys: one for management and another for employees. This allows a comparison of perspectives from the expectations of leadership to the lived experience of staff, and provides an honest and true account of the workplace's mental health.
The results also show how the business is tracking compared to the industry standard. The more businesses who complete the survey, the richer this information becomes. The survey identifies opportunities for businesses to make improvements and provides a direct link to the WorkWell Toolkit, where workplaces can access evidence-based resources to create mentally health workplaces. The survey forms a key part of the WorkWell program evaluation and is designed to "give back" data to workplaces, to inspire them to engage with their workers and take action.
Partnerships are an important mechanism for building and sustaining capacity to promote health and prevent injury. This is particularly relevant when working across multiple sectors and with a range of organisations (VicHealth 2016). A social network analysis assesses and monitors the nature and strength of working partnerships for organisations entering into them.
As part of WorkWell, we have funded 31 project partnerships: 25 Mental Health Improvement Fund recipients and 6 Learning Networks. We applied a social network analysis to assess and monitor the strength and nature of these partnerships, with the goal of applying the learnings to future partnerships to maximise their effectiveness.
The Mental Health Improvement Fund and Learning Networks streams are each responsible for evaluating their own projects. The WorkWell evaluation team gathers key insights and learnings from these program evaluation and synthesises them with our other collective data sets to formulate outcomes.
The WorkWell evaluation is collecting three different types of case studies to determine the impact of the program. The Mental Health Improvement Fund and Learning Networks provide illustrative case studies of their programs – as with the program evaluation, key insights and learnings are synthesised into outcomes based on the theory of change. We are developing longitudinal case studies from Toolkit users in partnership with Monash University. In partnership with Melbourne University, we are conducting social network analysis case studies to understand the influence of partnerships in primary prevention.
What we are measuring
We're measuring how a workplace changes its understanding of and behaviour around workplace mental health as a result of engaging with the WorkWell program. We measure this based on three levels of change:
Change Level 1: Measuring the participation levels of businesses with the WorkWell program
Change Level 2: Measuring how the WorkWell program has influenced workplace behaviours
Change Level 3: Measuring the impact that the WorkWell program has had on preventing mental injuries in the workplace
As of December 2020, WorkWell has just passed its halfway point. At this point, we've been able to collect data about the level of participation, and we are beginning to see the emerging trends of how WorkWell has influenced workplace mental health. We won't know the full impact of the program until it is complete, but we hope to have some initial insights around outcomes in early 2021.
We evaluate which employers and workers are engaging in the WorkWell program and how. This helps us develop effective, tailored strategies to build capacity and confidence in preventing mental injuries in the workplace.
We are looking to evaluate the actions and activities being undertaken across the WorkWell program to build a clearer picture of the level of commitment and consultation needed to create change in the workplace.
Change Level 3: Measuring impact (no data available yet)
Here we evaluate the positive and negative outcomes, and intended and unintended outcomes, of the WorkWell program. This allows us to understand the role of the interventions in creating change in the workplace and preventing mental injury. We measure this via the Workplace Wellbeing Insights Survey, as well as a review of claims data for workplace injuries.
As at December 2020, we are only just past the halfway point of the program. Results of the impact evaluation will become available in early 2023, after the program ends in late 2022.
Social network analysis
Social network analysis shows how the nature and strength of participating partnerships change over time.
The Social Network Analysis shows us the power of partnerships in influencing behaviour change in the workplace. Over time, most partners are collaborating, representing a significant investment of time and support. Collaborating offers the strongest level of support to the partnership and involves exchanging information, altering activities, sharing resources, but importantly, enhancing the capacity of another for mutual benefit and to achieve a common purpose.
The Social Network Analysis unveils critical factors that lead to creating mentally healthy workplaces, including championing partners as change makers to influence behaviour change and supporting the creation of mentally healthy workplaces. WorkWell supports relationships with peak employers, unions, consultants, academics, not-for-profit organisations and government departments to work together for collective impact.
Source: VicHealth 2016
10000+ registered users
A total of 10,000+ registered WorkWell Toolkit users, being owners, managers, HSRs +
25 funded pilot projects
with 334 participating workplaces
6 Learning Networks
with 37 partner organisations
Learn more with the month-by-month results of the social network analysis
Check out the interactive maps below for more detail about each month of the funded programs and the Learning Networks. The data sets are only captured for the first six months of the partnership, because after this time we see little to no change.