Insights and learnings from the WorkWell Program

Explore the current range of insights and learnings from the WorkWell program that are helping us to build an evidence-based approach for creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace.


About WorkWell

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, the program empowers leaders to make systems-level changes informed by a primary prevention approach to workplace mental health.

Established in 2017, WorkWell was initially a $50 million, 5-year government-funded program delivered by WorkSafe Victoria in partnership with the Victorian Department of Health. Having demonstrated the effectiveness of its model, WorkWell has now been endorsed to continue as an internal program within WorkSafe.

WorkWell evaluations

To understand the positive impact WorkWell has made on Victorian workplaces over the last six years, we are continually evaluating the program.

The learnings currently available on this page relate to the first six years of WorkWell. As WorkWell evolves, the program will continue to be evaluated and learnings will be shared as they become available.

Formal evaluations of the WorkWell program and related research is conducted in collaboration with our Expert Reference Group. This group is comprised of leading academics in the fields of workplace health and safety and systems thinking from Monash University, The University of South Australia and The University of Melbourne.

WorkWell emerging outcomes reports and summary reports

The annual WorkWell Emerging Outcomes Reports identify key evidence-based emerging insights for creating mentally healthy workplaces, such as the importance of partnerships, and evidence for predicting psychological safety.

The Summary Reports located alongside the WorkWell Emerging Outcomes Reports provide a retrospective appraisal of the program's impact across its first 6 years, as well as key findings and recommendations to carry forward into WorkWell's new business-as-usual phase at WorkSafe.

WorkWell emerging outcomes reports and summary reports

WorkWell technical reports and related research

A number of technical reports have been produced concerning key aspects of the WorkWell program. Included among the available research are detailed analyses of:

  • the economic costs of mental health-related presenteeism and absenteeism
  • the role of leadership in creating psychological safety in the workplace
  • the influence of partnerships in preventing workplace mental injury
  • the role and dynamics of partnerships in the WorkWell projects
  • value for money of the WorkWell program
  • data collected in the Workplace Wllbeing Insights Survey

WorkWell technical reports and related research

How WorkWell is being evaluated

Social Network Analysis (SNA)

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 SNA assesses and monitors the nature and strength of working partnerships for organisations entering into them.

As part of WorkWell, we have funded 30 projects partnerships: 25 Mental Health Improvement Fund recipients and 5 Learning Networks. We applied a SNA to asses and monitor the strength and nature of these partnerships, with the goal of applying the learnings to future partnerships to maximize their effectiveness.

WorkWell Social Network Analysis

Program streams

During its first 6 years, the WorkWell program consisted of 3 main program streams:

The Mental Health Improvement Fund and Learning Network streams were responsible for evaluating their own projects. The WorkWell evaluation team gathered key insights and learnings from these program evaluations and synthesized them with our other collective data sets to formulate outcomes.

The WorkWell evaluation has collected a range of case studies to determine the impact of the program. The MHIF and LN provided illustrative case studies of their programs – the program evaluation, key insights and learnings were synthesized into outcomes based on the theory of change. In partnership with Melbourne University, we also conducted case studies to further understand the influence of partnerships in primary prevention and the associated outcomes.

An additional component of the program, the WorkWell Survey (previously known as the Workplace Wellbeing Insights Survey), enables businesses to measure the mental health and wellbeing of their workplace, engage with their workers about the results and then take action using the evidence-based resources contained in the WorkWell Toolkit. The survey will be launching late 2023 for workplaces to access.