Prioritise employee mental well-being — Organisational psychologist

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson & Jemima Okang Addae
Professor Kwesi Amponsah-Tawiah
Professor Kwesi Amponsah-Tawiah

A professor of organisational psychologist at the University of Ghana, Professor Kwesi Amponsah-Tawiah, has urged organisations to put employee’s mental well-being at the top of their business concerns to enable them to remain competitive.

He said that would also help corporate organisations to adapt to the new post-pandemic way of working.

Safety Awareness Day

Prof. Amponsah-Tawiah made the call in Accra yesterday to mark this year's Volta River Authority (VRA) Safety Awareness Day.

The event, which was held at its head office in Accra on the theme “VRA in the Era of COVID-19: Our Business Sustainability,” was to help create safety awareness among staff and reinforce the observation of high standards of workplace safety, health and environmental practices.

As part of the occasion, a minute silence was observed for staff who lost their lives as a result of the COVID-19.

Some departments of the authority were also honoured for maintaining high safety standards.

New normal

The professor of organisational psychologist said the pandemic had forced companies to consider a new normal that had changed the nature of work, thus, making employee wellbeing and mental health more critical.

“It has, therefore, become imperative for organisations to create workplace environments that recognised, acknowledged and promoted the importance of positive mental health to help improve their operations,” he said.

Wellness programmes

Prof. Amponsah-Tawiah said companies must establish workplace wellness programmes to help identify employees at risk for mental health concerns, connect them to mental health treatment options and provide supports that helped to reduce symptoms and increase overall wellness.

“It is also very critical that companies establish workplace assisted programmes or create units that would provide psychological support to people, a place where individuals can go to discuss certain issues, because it is only when employees are safe that our businesses will be safe,” he added.

Commendation

The Chief Executive of VRA, Mr. Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, for his part, commended the staff for the fortitude, diligence and cooperation during the difficult times of the pandemic.

But for their collective efforts, he said, the business continuity would have been in jeopardy.

During the peak of the pandemic, Mr. Antwi-Darkwa said the authority successfully put in place appropriate interventions such as screening of persons entering our facilities, testing of staff who were disposed to the infection, ensuring strict working-from-home schedules to allow for social distancing in the offices, among many others.

Such actions, the Chief Executive said, had positively impacted the company’s operations and cumulatively helped to reduce its risk exposure levels and ensured the business’s continuity and sustainability.

“I wish to thank in particular our engineering and operation teams for maintaining power generation to the country during the period. Your contribution will never be forgotten,” Mr. Antwi-Darkwa said.

Sustainability plan

“Indeed, everyone including the Investment Department, Commercial, Corporate Strategy, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, the Board Secretariat and the Corporate Office worked around the clock to maintain our business,” he added.

With the pandemic still lingering on, the Chief Executive noted that the future of the company still relied on how far it could spread successes and deepen its sustainability.

This is the strong reason why we should all rally around our business sustainability plan.

“There is no doubt that our proactiveness ensured our ability to respond positively to the new normal way of running our business. We could not have come this far if we did not pay attention to the COVID-19 protocols,” Mr. Antwi-Darkwa said.