Conference 2011 is a Call to Action to Canadian Businesses to make organizational health A Business Imperative.

Three streams of presentations will be offered:

  1. Aligning Business with Health
  2. Sustainable Business Health
  3. Mental Health and Business

During this time of economic recovery, a healthy organization is critical for recruitment, retention and success.

A healthy business is one where the workplace culture, leadership practices and psychosocial environment merge to create an organization where people are at their best. Business objectives are achieved through inspired people who give their personal best.

The 2007-2008 Towers Perrin Global Workforce Study found that the top drivers of retention and engagement were related to the organizational culture. The most powerful influencer of employee engagement was found to be “the knowledge that senior management is sincerely interested in my well-being” (1).

Unfortunately, when economic hard times hit, organizational health became a ‘nice to have’ versus a ‘need to have’ for many companies as they reorganized and downsized. Reports indicate work did not lessen but rather intensified. The results are being seen in decreased loyalty. Confidence in leaders and managers is low (2).

The new reality is that employers who have let the health of their organizations slip will be hurt. The economy will recover over time, but the demographic shifts that are reducing the number of people entering the workforce will continue as a long-term trend.

“Companies pay a steep price when employees are overworked, stressed and unhappy – maybe not today, but next month or next year when they walk out the door.”

– Dr. Linda Duxbury (3).

Leadership literature suggests a new perspective is needed to navigate these chaotic times (4). Management Consultant, Dr. Margaret Wheatley says that this new perspective may require ‘strategic thinking’ (more awareness and faster response) versus ‘strategic planning.’

What is also changing is the pressure for employers to provide and maintain a psychologically safe workplace.

Dr. Martin Shain has outlined a trend in the law across Canada “to condemn more and more mentally injurious conduct as unacceptable and to define it as having the potential to give rise to legal action” (5).

Aside from preventing legal issues, studies show the benefits of healthy workplace practices on increased productivity, increased engagement and lower turnover. For example, Hydro Quebec showed a more than 4 to 1 payback for every extra dollar spent on implementing the benefit of flexible work hours (6).

New knowledge is also emerging related to the convergence of workplace health promotion, organizational performance and social responsibility – and how these three areas of management practice and research form an integrative organizational health model (7).

Conference 2011 will pull together these new perspectives and generate a Call to Action to Canadian businesses to make organizational health A Business Imperative.

1) Towers Perrin. 2007. The Evolving Global Workforce: Insights, Strategies and Solutions. 2007-2008.
2) Towers Watson. 2010. Global Workforce Study. Available at:
3) Duxbury L. 2010. Quote in: Canada: Our Time to Lead Work-Life Balance Series. “Why should your boss care?” Globe & Mail, News pp A8-9. November 1, 2010.
4) Wheatley M. 2006. Leadership and the New Science. Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, CA.
5) Shain M. 2010. Tracking the Perfect Legal Storm. Converging systems create mounting pressure to create the psychologically safe workplace. A discussion paper for the Mental Health Commission of Canada 2009 [www. “The Shain Report”]
6) Industrial Accident Prevention Association. 2008 – see
7) Lowe G. 2010. Creating Healthy Organizations. How Vibrant Workplaces Inspire Employees to Achieve Sustainable Success. Rotman/UTP Publishing, Toronto, ON.