Monday 1 February 2016

How's your supplier's mental health?

I recently attended Let's talk about it - changing attitudes towards mental health at work. A conference that reminded us all of the benefit of talking more about mental health.

You'll see from the blog the different ways we were being encouraged to speak about mental health.

It got me thinking about talking about mental health with suppliers.

For example when did you last ask a supplier's representative:
  • Are you okay?
  • What can we do to help? 
  • Which of our behaviours are negatively impacting the mental health of you, or others within your organisation 
  • What could we do more of? 
  • What should we do less of?
  • What shall we keep doing?
Or shared with them how their behaviours are impacting the mental health of those within the buying organisation.

It's so easy to talk in terms of orders, invoices, contract terms, service level agreements, key performance indicators, and forget we're often just human beings dealing with other human beings.

Human beings with mental health that can either support their ability to do their job or not!

In the blog "But I don't do soft fluffy stuff" I tackled, even if perhaps a little too vociferously, my belief that we're all human beings and not androids. This belief is the reason why I believe procurement has a responsibility for ensuring it doesn't abuse it's power, nor push supplier's to break point. Especially when we hear stories of many people broken due to Tesco's, and other organisations', behaviour with respect to payment.

It's too easy I suspect to say "I wouldn't do that!", and then move onto the next blog, and forget all about the question.

I am sure my actions over the years, however unintentional, have negatively impacted others. Should I just think "Tough! I was just doing my job" or "I wonder how I can do this differently now and in the future?"

Not an easy quandary to answer - especially when many organisations aren't even talking about, nor considering, the mental health of its own employees - never mind those of other organisations.

Other blog's written along the same vein include:
Do you think it's procurement's responsibility to consider our impact on a supplier's mental health? and they yours?

I'd love to know your thoughts - do leave comments below.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change inside and out - and here's why I think inspiring change is important and necessary if you're wanting sustainable change for the future

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