M-pact: gauging mental well-being - here's how Westtoer, a tourism organisation, does it

From culture and local history to gastronomy and sports, there are very few workplaces with such varied jobs as a tourism organisation. At Westtoer, the team is brimming with passion and drive. According to Mensura's psychosocial risk analysis, that’s a strong buffer against work stress. But some points for improvement also surfaced.

In our M-pact series, we assess the positive impact of a project on all those involved: from managers and project leaders to people on the shop floor. We get together to discuss the collaboration and the end result.

The project

Since their psychosocial risk analysis in 2016, Westtoer, the tourism organisation of the province of West Flanders, made quite a few changes to how it organised the work. For example, it introduced hybrid working - partly from home, partly in the office. Westtoer engaged Mensura to conduct a new risk analysis using the SONAR method.

What is SONAR?

With an exploratory employee survey and in-depth workshops, SONAR gauges the well-being in your workplace. Your employees indicate how important certain job aspects are and their satisfaction with them. The result is a detailed report with concrete action points.

Read more about SONAR

In the starring role

  • Elke Vancraeyenest, External Psychosocial Well-Being Prevention Adviser at Mensura
  • Peter Van Kerckhove, Prevention Adviser for Occupational Safety at Mensura
  • Tim Vanholle, Director of Finance and Administration at Westtoer
  • Dieter Geernaert, HR Coordinator at Westtoer

Structured and neutral evaluation

Tim: "We have used a hybrid working system for several years. This increases our flexibility and autonomy. Our employees responded positively to this new concept. Yet there were occasional complaints about stressful work situations and mounting workloads. This raised questions like: is everyone still happy? Are people at their wits’ end?”

Dieter: “It was time for a structured evaluation of workplace well-being by an independent party anyway. After all, our last psychosocial risk analysis was in 2016. We wanted to conduct a new measurement five years later, but the pandemic made that impossible. Instead, we organised an internal survey on satisfaction and mental health rather than a comprehensive evaluation. Then Elke and Peter proposed SONAR. We felt confident about it, so we went for it.”

Lots of passion, dedication and commitment

Elke: “First, we used an online survey to gauge satisfaction with all kinds of aspects of the job and the working environment. This enabled us to map out the general sentiment among Westtoer employees. We were amazed by the response rate of no less than 85% – a testament to their motivation and dedication. The engagement of the participants was also high during the workshop.”

Peter: “For the workshop, Westtoer assembled a group of participants from different departments, jobs and levels. The participants were eager to contribute ideas on how to further improve their working environment. This made it pleasant for us as well. In addition to psychosocial well-being, working conditions were addressed because they significantly impact well-being.”

Towards a more precise framework with regard to flexibility

Dieter: “We are indeed very passionate about our work at Westtoer. Moreover, we are given a lot of leeway when it comes to organising our work. But this wonderful combination has a catch: employees sometimes take on too much, feel responsible for everything and become stressed. This was reflected in the results of the Sonar survey.”

Tim: “That insight was an eye-opener for us. Mensura advised us to define the work framework more precisely: a clear set of tasks per role and delineated responsibilities for each team linked to a clear vision of the future. We immediately took this advice to heart. We are currently converting it into concrete actions.”

Collaboration from a shared vision of well-being

Dieter: “Mensura has been our trusted prevention partner for many years. We work together often and effectively on matters of health and safety. So it made sense to entrust them with this project too. And we haven’t regretted it for a second. Moreover, we got to know each other better and learned to appreciate each other even more.”

Elke: “We share the same vision of well-being, which resulted in a pleasant and smooth collaboration. Psychosocial risk analyses are a legal obligation, but we got more out of it together. We are pursuing a real impact for Westtoer as an organisation, the various departments and each individual employee.”