Frequently Asked Questions: The Basics
What is it? The Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards are a national, evidence-based annual competition that measures the employee experience with respect to workplace mental health. Watch the two-minute video above for a quick overview.
Who is involved? The awards are presented by Talent Canada, a national media brand for C-suite and HR professionals that makes the business case for investing in people. It is supported by OHS Canada, a national media brand that looks at workplace health and safety. Combined, the two publications have more than 40,000 CASL-compliant professionals on their email lists with vibrant print editions, websites, podcasts and track records of hosting successful events. Both brands are published by Annex Business Media, Canada’s largest B2B publisher.
How does it work? Participating employers are required to have workers complete the Mental Fitness Index (MFI) from Howatt HR. (See full details below in the Standard Operating Procedures.) Talent Canada and OHS Canada have partnered with Howatt HR.
Organizations are scored on credible criteria, validated by an independent judging panel, and star employers are named to the annual list. There are three award levels – Gold, Silver and Bronze.
How are winners celebrated? On Oct. 28, 2021, winners will be recognized during a special virtual event that also features a conference component. In 2022, there will be a live conference followed by a gala dinner celebration in downtown Toronto to honour the winners.
FAQs: More Detailed Information
- committed to mitigating employees’ risk for mental harm from psychosocial factors such as bullying, work demand, and isolation.
- dedicated to promoting and supporting employees’ mental health through policies and programs.
- committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive culture.
- an environment with psychologically safe leaders who are committed to driving fear out of the culture and encourage employees to share ideas without fear of retaliation.
- A 2017 Gallup report found that if organizations increase psychological safety, it makes employees more engaged in their work and can lead to a 12 per cent increase in productivity.
- In 2015, when Google studied its employees to determine “what makes a good team,” researchers found that psychological safety was the most important quality that determined a team’s success.
- Organizations can improve their productivity and reduce costs by investing in the mental health of their employees by creating psychologically safer workplaces. For employers who invest in mental health, the ROI after year one was found to be $1.62 for every $1 invested (Deloitte Insights, 2019).
- Failing to maintain a psychologically safe workplace is costing your organization.
Why should my organization enter this award? If you pass the independent scoring methodology, you will have the opportunity to be recognized as a Psychologically Safe Workplace. However, this is far more than an award. Here are five reasons why you should participate :
- Show that you care. The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated that taking care of employee well-being is a critical aspect of thriving organizations. Participating in this award provides evidence to workforce and clients that your organization cares about the psychological health and safety of employees.
- Benchmark. It is for organizations who want to benchmark or better understand how they are doing against the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the workplace
- Promote joint responsibility. It promotes a joint responsibility model where employers and employees are equally accountable for creating a psychologically healthy and safe work environment.
- Attract and retain top talent. It is a beacon for attracting and retaining new talent. Research suggests that 97 per cent of professionals believe employers have a responsibility to support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff. Further, 88 per cent of professionals consider the mental health polices of a potential employer important when looking for a new role.
- Monitor your opportunities for positive impact. All organizations strive to be better every day. By entering this award and completing the MFI, you will be able to benchmark your organization and track your progress year-over- year as well as gain insight into the effectiveness of programs and policies.
How does the award work? Participating organizations will use Howatt HR’s Mental Fitness Index (MFI) to assess their employees. Each organization will have access to Howatt HR’s self-service portal to support in building their organizations own MFI, and launch the tool to their employees.
After the official end date of the award eligibility period, a scoring criterion based on employee mental fitness behaviours, workplace factors, psychological incidents and hazards will be applied to determine an overall score. Organizations with scores that meet or exceed the minimum cutoff determined by the experts at Howatt HR and an independent review committee put together by Talent Canada who will verify the scores and determine the recipients of the award.
What is Howatt HR’s MFI? It’s an empirically validated tool built using evidence from applied and academic research as well as the experience of experts in the field of psychological health and safety. The MFI score provides a comprehensive assessment of employees’ mental fitness by quantifying behavioural habits within four key pillars (physical, coping skills, work and life), as well as workplace PHS factors (e.g., senior leadership expectations, safety, reward and recognition). The scores from the four mental fitness pillars act as an indicator of what employees’ can control to support their overall health and resilience. The PHS workplace factors are an indicator of what employers can do to support employee mental health and reduce psychological harms. More details about the MFI can be found in this white paper.
How can my organization use the results? The MFI acts as an indicator for the current state of your organization. The aggregated data provides valuable insights that evaluate a range of important topics that pertain to psychological safety such as work culture, leadership, support programming and productivity. These insights can be used to make evidence-based decisions for organizations, such as how to invest in their employees, or to create targeted programs designed to meet the specific needs of their workforce.
For more details on the MFI and how it can be used by your organization, view this white paper.
What are the award categories? Organizations that meet all the eligibility requirements qualify to receive one of the three levels of Psychologically Safe Workplace Award badges (Gold, Silver and Bronze) based on their scores with respect to the minimum cut-off determined by Talent Canada and Howatt HR.
How will my employees access the assessment? A confidential access link to the MFI assessment tool will be distributed to your employees through email by way of Howatt HR’s self-serve client portal. Your organization will be able to schedule the release of the emails as well as have the ability to send reminders.
When can my employees complete the assessment? Organizations can register for the award as early as May 3, 2021. After registering into Howatt HR’s self-service client portal, you may distribute the assessment to your employees at any time prior to the end of the award eligibility period (Sept. 30, 2021). Providing a specified close date is optional. If an organization does not select a date your employees will no longer be able to access the assessment after at midnight on Sept. 30, 2021.
Will my organization receive any reporting after the assessment has been completed? Your organization will receive the following reports that provide valuable insights based on the results of Howatt HR’s MFI assessment tool:
- Organizations will receive an aggregated dashboard report, based on responses provided from your employees. It will contain information such as program participation and impact, as well as scores pertaining to psychological health and safety, mental fitness and employee experience.
- After the award period is over, a benchmark report containing aggregated data from all organizations participating in the Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards will also be available.
Additionally, each employee will receive a personalized report based on their overall MFI score. The report provides insight based on their results as well and tips and resources for improving their mental fitness. This will NOT be shared with the organization.
What can I do after the awards? This is time for reflecting and leveraging the data that you have received. The aggregated organization report will contain high level recommendations that can be used as a guide to create a plan to improve or maintain the psychological health and safety of your workplace. The benchmark report will provide a line of sight on how your organization is doing when compared to other organizations who have entered the award.
However, this is a continuous improvement exercise. Organizations can benefit from making intentional choices and business decisions to adopt or adapt the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the workplace.
For more detailed strategic recommendations and other enquiries, you can contact email@example.com Howatt HR’s team of experts in behavioural science, organizational psychology and psychological health and safety can help to tailor solutions with your organization’s unique needs in mind.
Are employee responses confidential? Yes. All responses are completely confidential. Employers will receive a high-level summary of the assessment results, not the assessment data, from Howatt HR. You will receive these results as aggregate data in a dashboard report format.
How will Howatt HR ensure my responses are confidential and kept anonymous? Howatt HR has adopted the Privacy and Confidentiality Standards as described by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), as well as the Tri-County Policy statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Human Subject Chapter 5. Thus, all disseminated results are presented in an aggregate format. If a given indirect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) group is comprised of less than 30 people, their aggregate data will not be disseminated to ensure participant anonymity.
If employee responses are confidential, how can Howatt HR provide employees with a personal report? The personal reports are auto generated by Howatt HR’s data collection system based on their calculated overall MFI score. Employees are the only ones who will see the report.
How and where will the survey information be stored? All data collected will be hosted on Howatt HR’s secure server. Howatt HR’s secure server is hosted by Cologix, located in Canada and data housed within it will be accessed solely in Canada.
Who is your assessment platform provider? Howatt HR uses Voxco to build and distribute their assessment tools (see www.voxco.com).
Technical Support FAQ’S
Does the MFI launch automatically after registration? No. The mentalfitnessjourney.com is a self-service portal. You are required to login and follow instructions to distribute the MFI assessment within your organization
What are my login credentials? Your login credentials are the email address and password that was created at the time of registration
The payment page has timed out (504 error) and I have not received the payment confirmation email. If you see a 504 error, please check your spam or junk email folder for the payment confirmation email. You can then proceed to use your credentials to login to your account. If you are unable to login, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Standard Operating Procedures
These standard operating procedures (SOP) describe the steps involved when participating in the Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards (PSWA).
All questions about the awards program should be directed to Talent Canada magazine. Contact group publisher Todd Humber at email@example.com. For sponsorship inquiries, contact Talent Canada’s Wendy Serrao at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All questions related to the MFI tool, award criteria, scoring methodology or technical challenges should be directed to Howatt HR Consulting. Please send your questions to email@example.com.
To qualify for the Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards (PSWA) and to be recognized as a psychologically safe workplace, all organizations must meet the following criteria:
- Have at least 30 Canadian-based employees in their organization (full-time or part-time)
- Must meet the minimum participation rate based on number of employees, as defined in the following table:
|Number of Employees||Minimum participation rate|
|30-49||75% of population|
|50-99||60% of population|
|100-499||45% of population|
|500+||30% of population|
Note: The participation rates have been set to ensure statistical reliability.
It is important to note that organizations that fail to meet the minimum participation requirements will not be considered eligible for the awards.
Organizations who have completed an MFI directly though the services of Howatt HR Consulting in the same calendar year as the award may be eligible for the PSWA award. These organizations will not have any kind of advantage over other participating organizations. The same criteria and scoring methodology reviewed by the independent committee will be applied with no exceptions.
Organizations that meet all the eligibility requirements qualify to receive three levels of Psychologically Safe Workplace Award badges (Gold, Silver and Bronze) based on their scores with respect to the minimum cut-off determined by Talent Canada, Howatt HR, and our independent judging panel.
A conference and gala will be organized virtually on Oct. 28, 2021, where the winners will be recognized. Winners have the option to license the official Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards seal from Talent Canada.
This seal, protected by copyright, can be used to promote their organization as a leader in recruitment ads, vehicles, on the office wall, and more. Organizations that choose not to license the seal are not permitted to use it anywhere.
Employees who complete the assessment will automatically be able to view a personalized report based on their MFI assessment responses.
Organizations that meet minimum eligibility criteria will receive:
- a dashboard report displaying high-level aggregate results
- a benchmark report with useful insights based on aggregate results of all organizations who participated in the award.
Award eligibility period begins: May 3, 2021
Award eligibility period ends: Sept. 30, 2021
Award winners notified: Oct. 15, 2021
Award winners announced at gala: Oct. 28, 2021
Note: Organizations that register for the awards after the award eligibility period will automatically be considered for the next award period.
Organizations can receive the dashboard report within 7-10 business days if they choose to close the MFI assessment before end of eligibility period. Organizations that do not choose a close date will receive their report within 21 business days from the end of the eligibility period.
All responses to the MFI assessment are confidential and anonymous. Talent Canada and Howatt HR will report the MFI results to organizations only at an aggregate level. There will be no names attached to any responses to ensure complete anonymity of the responses. Please read Howatt HR’s privacy guidelines for more information. You can find Annex Business Media’s privacy information here. (Annex Business Media is the publisher of Talent Canada.)
How to enter
The psychologically safe workplace award site is a self-service portal. Please note that registration and payment does not launch the MFI. Proceed to follow the steps outlined within the portal to launch the MFI assessment in your organization.
At https://mentalfitnessjourney.com/register enter your organization’s details to register. Here, you will be required to provide an email ID and set a password. This will be used as your login credentials. After registering, you will be automatically logged in to the site and prompted to pay the registration fee based on the organization size.
|Number of Employees||Registration fee|
|Less than 100 employees||$499 + tax|
|100 – 500 employees||$799 + tax|
|More than 500 employees||$999 + tax|
Please read all instructions carefully to launch the assessment tool. If you need additional support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 1: Company profile. Complete your employer profile by entering your organization’s details (e.g., company size, average salary) into all the mandatory fields of the Employer Questionnaire. Please note that you are fully responsible for providing accurate information. It is important to keep in mind that this assessment is meant to provide meaningful insights to your organization and the accuracy of the data you provide will contribute to this.
Step 2: Build your MFI. In this step, you will be providing details to help customize the program evaluation section of the MFI by selecting the programs offered by your organization. You can select from a standard list of programs (e.g., EFAP) and add up to three additional programs unique to your organization that are not otherwise reflected in the standard selection. The programs that you select will appear as program options on the MFI assessment that is sent to your employees. It is very important to make sure that the program details that you provide are accurate and can be recognized by your employees.
- Download the email distribution list template from the portal (Excel spreadsheet) and enter the names and email address of the employees. Save the spreadsheet and upload it back to the portal. To ensure emails are correctly sent to employees, it is required to adhere to the format of the template excel. Failure to do so may result in an inability to send the MFI link to your employees.
- Select a launch date for the distribution of the MFI link. All employees in the distribution list will automatically be sent an email with a secure link to complete the MFI assessment on the selected launch date.
Organizations will also have the ability to schedule reminders. However, organizations are fully responsible to promote (e.g., leadership messaging, posters) the PSWA within their organization and to encourage employees to complete the MFI.
Sometimes, the MFI distribution link sent to employees will be directed to the spam folder. Please communicate with employees to check their spam folder for the link from email@example.com. Additionally, you can contact your IT department to whitelist firstname.lastname@example.org and https://www.voxco.com/. You can learn more from your IT team about the best course of action to ensure that the link is directed to your employees’ inboxes.
- organization size
- number of responses needed to qualify for the award
- number of completed responses.
All organizations have the opportunity to choose a date to close their assessment. If a date is not selected, then the MFI assessment will close on the official end date of the award eligibility period. Choosing an end date prior to the official end date allows for early access to the custom report* for their organization. (*Aggregated organizational MFI report that provides insights which can be used for decision-making and planning. It will contain information such as program participation and impact, as well as scores pertaining to psychological health and safety, mental fitness and employee experience.)
However, exceeding the minimum participation rate will contribute to a higher score for the award. Organizations are advised to use their own discretion while closing the MFI assessment. The final results of the PSWA as well as the benchmark report will be available only after the official end date.
Step 5: Your MFI reports. The MFI report will be available within 7-10 business days from the close date of the award chosen selected by the organization. Organizations that do not choose a close date will receive their report within 21 business days from the end of the eligibility period.
You will receive an email from Howatt HR when the report is ready, and it can be accessed in this tab. The benchmark report will be available here after the end of the award period.
In this tab, you will have access to white papers, podcasts, articles, blog posts and other useful content on a wide range of topics related to psychological health and safety.
Standard Operating Procedure: Overview
The PSW Award has developed a standard operating procedure to ensure that the integrity of the award is maintained, and all organizations are treated fairly and equitably.
The standard operating procedure will be as follows:
- After registration, all employees in the organization (based on email IDs provided by participating organization) will be sent a secure link to complete Howatt HR’s MFI assessment.
- The MFI scores will be determined based only on the responses of the employees of participating organizations. Any subjective data provided by organizations/employers during the onboarding process will not be taken into consideration.
- Organizations must meet the minimum participation rate for their organization size in order to qualify for the award. A quantitative scoring methodology that uses an algorithm with weighted scales will be applied to the results of Howatt HR’s MFI assessment to determine the winners of the Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards. However, organizations that do not meet the required minimum participation rate will not receive any reports.
- All organizations have the opportunity to choose a date to close their MFI assessment. If a date is not selected, then the assessment will end on the official end date of the award eligibility period. Choosing an end date prior to the official end date allows for early access to the custom report for their organization. However, the final results of the PSWA as well as the benchmark report will be available only after the official end date.
- All responses collected until the stipulated official end date of the award period will be taken into consideration. The only exception is if the organization chooses to close the MFI assessment before the official end date. In this case, only the responses received until the chosen close date will be considered for scoring.
- An independent committee of highly respected professionals in the field of psychological health and safety will review the scoring methodology as well as the integrity of the selection process. The committee will also conduct a final review of the organization, MFI data, scoring and results before announcement of winners.
Organizations who have completed an MFI directly though the services of Howatt HR Consulting and not through the Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards website in the same calendar year as the award may be eligible for the PSWA award. These organizations will not have any kind of advantage over other participating organizations. The same criteria and scoring methodology reviewed by the independent committee will be applied with no exceptions.
For more information contact:
Talent Canada Magazine/Annex Business Media
For sponsorship information, contact: