The second episode in our learning and development for non-profits webinar series, “Mental Health Strategies for the Non-Profit Workplace,” was recorded live yesterday. We are ecstatic with the turnout and the response. Our guest speaker was Principal Consultant and Founder of Game Plan Total Rewards Consulting, Sean Raible.
Mental health is a concern for organizations of all sizes and non-profits are no exception. We made a list of some key takeaways from the discussion and you can read them below.
1. Mental health is already a concern for organizations
For non-profits of all sizes, mental health likely already affects your team in some way. One in five people will experience some mental health problem or illness each year. It’s likely that organizations of all sizes already have team members experiencing challenges.
What’s worse, statistically two out of three of those people do not try to access any assistance. Demonstrating to your people that their mental health is a priority can have positive effects by helping to remove stigmas and empower your people to seek help when it’s needed most.
2. COVID-19 has exacerbated an already challenging issue
The stats mentioned above are representative of the reality before the pandemic in the spring of this year. The additional challenges caused by social isolation, loss of work, and all of the other stressors of the pandemic have made a bad problem much worse. Now, over half of people report being more emotionally exhausted, sad, or irritable.
These additional stressors can contribute to insomnia, anxiety, anger and confusion. Establishing a policy and systems to help support your people is more crucial than ever.
3. The absence of a mental health policy at your non-profit can be more costly
Up to 30% of an organization’s disability costs can be caused by mental health problems. Even if a work stoppage is caused by another injury or illness, mental health can still become the primary reason for an inability to return to work.
The opportunity costs of the lack of a mental health policy can add up quickly, with absenteeism, losses of productivity, and more. Ignoring the issue can also have ramifications in terms of your organization’s reputation and in the worst cases could cause legal risks and expenses. Costs shouldn’t be the only concern, however. Non-profits who establish clear support systems for mental health can remain true to their organizational values and missions.
4. Mental health should be woven into every aspect of your organization
The old idiom about an ounce of prevention rings true when it comes to mental health. Establishing policies and helping your people to understand their options in terms of support can be very beneficial to all members of your team. Actions that show your organization places a focus on their well-being can help your culture and the comfort level of the people who need that support most.
Reacting to mental health concerns is crucial, but creating a safe place for your people to thrive can be a preventative measure that helps them feel supported.
5. Organizational learning helps organizations and individuals
Beyond establishing mental health policies at your organization and making your people aware of the resources and support systems available to them, you can help manage the overall mental health and well-being of your team by prioritizing organizational learning.
This means making long term learning a priority for your whole organization. When you are facing known challenges like adopting new technology, new protocols, introducing new team members, or embarking on new initiatives, acknowledge that some of your team will need some support adjusting. Taking a long term approach with documentation, peer-to-peer support, patience, and social learning initiatives will help everyone adapt to changes and help the entire organization continually improve.
Organizational learning is about changing behaviours and applying the learning over time, building capacity and improving performance.
6. Help individuals in your organization feel supported by offering ongoing training and knowledge sharing
Frequency is essential in learning. To help your people adapt to change, take a longer-term approach to change management.
One way to help your people avoid anxiety around their capabilities and help them feel supported is to offer ongoing training and knowledge-sharing that helps them improve their skills and gain confidence.
For example, to show your people that you are committed to supporting their mental health, you can provide that reassurance often through an employee’s tenure; during onboarding, throughout their time at your organization, when they take leadership positions, and even when they move on.
Watch the full webinar and access our suite of training tools for non-profits
In the full webinar recording, Sean offers a list of resources and tools available to non-profits. Our Founder Leah Chang also offers a number of case studies, along with actionable tips and insights that non-profits can use to support their people and be proactive against an issue that will continue to be an ongoing concern for organizations of all sizes.
We offer a growing number of online training modules designed specifically for the needs of non-profits. Only the CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) module has information specific to Canadians — the rest have info that will be of use to all English-speaking non-profits. Learn how to secure sponsorship and partnerships even in a remote work environment, and train your team on how to improve their measurement of the organization’s impact, to help make more informed decisions.
And as always, you can reach out to our team if you have questions about how we can support the needs of non-profits with eLearning consulting and online tools.
How to Create eLearning Content with Accessibility in Mind
As the world shifts to virtual work and online learning environments, some struggle more than others. How can you ensure nothing stands in the way of a learner’s experience being as enjoyable and accessible as possible?
Work with instructional designers who understand accessibility
Organizations that support and promote a diverse and inclusive workforce need to take this into serious consideration. Partnering with service providers that uphold the same standards, such as our team of experts here at Leah Chang Learning, is an excellent step towards designing learning experiences with accessibility in mind.
Our clients have broad audiences and the projects we work on have high standards. They have requirements to make learning as inclusive as possible and the experience as effective as possible. This inspires us to keep up-to-date with industry standards, to keep learning about efficient ways to build in accessible design into our projects, and to make the necessary accommodations part of our “new normal” when it comes to designing high quality online learning.
eLearning content considerations for accessibility
We used a few branding samples to test some mock-up design templates that our team created in Articulate Storyline and Articulate Rise. To our surprise, only 30% had an adequate colour contrast ratio. This is an easy fix! You can find many websites that will show you the colour contrast ratio, but we really liked using this online checker.
It’s important to note that not everyone who benefits from accessible design has a long-term disability. Temporary accessibility issues can also be accommodated by a few thoughtful design approaches.
“I recently experienced a really painful wrist inflammation likely due to working long hours of my mouse and a too-tiny desk. I would cringe when I had to use my mouse, especially when completing “mouse-intensive” repetitive clicks. I would have loved more assistive technology aids such as keyboard controls instead of clicks in some of the software I was using. I get it now—our learners need to have options to make their learning experience a better one. Accessible design isn’t just about high contrasting colours or big fonts, and nor is it for people with long-term disabilities. All of us can benefit from more accessibility and inclusion in how we use digital tools.”
-Instructional Design freelancer who transitioned to working from home full time pre-COVID
Part of our process here at Leah Chang Learning was to create a template with our branding and start testing it for accessibility.
Tools for instructional designers to create eLearning content that is inclusive and accessible
Here are some reputable resources we use and highly recommend to other instructional designers, learning technologists and anyone getting started with accessible design:
We're excited to put accessible design to use in a current project with accessible employers of BC, The Presidents Group, in their upcoming online learning about accessible employment. Do you need help with an accessible learning project? Contact us today!
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) for Non-Profits Online Course
We recently released the first in our series of online learning modules designed specifically to meet the needs of Canadian non-profit organizations. The response to them has been very positive. We thought we would take a closer look at how specific non-profits are getting value from the courses. We spoke to Canon Ho, Lawyer and Privacy Officer for Praxis Spinal Cord Institute (formerly the Rick Hansen Institute) about his experience with “CASL for Non-Profits.”
Our courses are designed by our team of top-notch learning design experts, who have carefully crafted an enjoyable and engaging learning experience. Each easy-to-follow course has just the right amount of content, brand new for 2020, created by Canadians for Canadians.
Making online learning for non-profits more accessible
“In the pre-COVID days, lawyer-oriented webinars often cost up to $200 per person,” says Canon. Speaking of the pandemic in question, it has also made it difficult for non- profits to engage with and train their teams and volunteers. Remote learning opportunities that are designed specifically for Canadian non-profit organizations are few and far between. Of the content that does exist, much of it is out of date, siloed, or costly.
Our first three courses, including the Canadian Anti-SPAM Legislation module that Canon completed, were designed to meet this urgent need, allowing organizations to continue training team members in these new circumstances.
“The simplicity and easy-to-understand language was the best part. Additionally, the interactive nature of the content allows for good knowledge retention.”
Impressions of CASL for Non-Profits
We try to create our online courses to be interactive and diverse. The format of the content and interactions change from section-to-section. The goal is to help the learner to better absorb and retain the information.
“The simplicity and easy-to-understand language was the best part,” says Canon. “Additionally, the interactive nature of the content allows for good knowledge retention. I think that because this course requires a great deal of interaction from the user (relatively for an online course), it allows for greater engagement. This also includes the variety in types of interactions that require the user to stay alert while going through the modules.”
Specifically-designed tools that help non-profits keep on track
One of the decisions we made with our courses is to give them transparent, affordable pricing. Each user pays a small individual fee for each course. “The price range may allow organizations to have multiple members take this course,” says Canon. “This training can help educate board members and senior executives to understand the types of resources available and needed to comply with CASL. This will help the communication personnel to obtain the tools necessary to maintain compliance.”
“This course provides material for the leaders of charities and non-profits to immediately apply to their digital outreach strategy...”
As the laws and best practices of email communication evolve, non-profits need to remain compliant—not simply with letter of the law, but also with the trust of their subscriber and donor networks. “The individuals who are responsible for sending out CEMs (commercial electronic messages) and outreach can use the course as a practical guide for obtaining and recording consent, as well as reviewing CEMs before sending them out,” says Ho. “Online communication is a necessity in today’s world. This course provides material for the leaders of charities and non-profits to immediately apply to their digital outreach strategy in order to ensure compliance with CASL. Even for seasoned privacy professionals, this will be a good refresher.”
Want to try this course for your organization?
Interested in learning more about our non-profit elearning series? Click the image below!
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Leah Chang is a learning consultant with 17+ years of experience designing online and classroom learning. In her spare time she goes on self-propelled travel adventures and tries to grow vegetables.