Rewards to best practice

Workplace wellbeing wins gong

The Sunday Times 10.7.16

ONE West Australian loses their life to suicide each day – it’s a shocking statistic that motivates this team of psychologists to help those in our community with mental illness.

PeopleSense has counselled “hundreds of thousands” of West Aussies about injury management and prevention and mental wellbeing since its launch 11 years ago.

And the Subiaco-based firm was recognised for its efforts on Friday night by winning the coveted Telstra WA Business of the Year 2016.

Mental health difficulties and workplace injuries cost the Australian economy an estimated $40 billion each year.

PeopleSense, which also took out the Small Business award, helps businesses reduce the economic impact of workplace injuries and rehabilitates people involved in accidents.

It also provides an employee assistance program for WA’s biggest employer, the Department of Education.

PeopleSense associate director Tom Parker said the contract started with the 46,000 staff workplace in August last year.

“I understand they’re the largest employer in the southern hemisphere,” he said.

“We’ve provided services for more than 1000 employees and 4000 counselling sessions, it’s going very well.”

PeopleSense managing director Anya Stephens said she started the business with fellow director Darrin Brandis because of the lack of services.

“We were really frustrated with the poor treatment available, and yet mental health and physical injuries are very treatable,” she said. “Talking about mental health isn’t very sexy. Depression let’s face it, it’s depressing, anxiety causes worry.

“So it’s not easy to get the message out there – it’s also hard work.”

Mr Brandis added: “We’re really passionate about moving beyond a tokenistic stance on mental health or physical injury in the workplace.

“We’re trying to drive industry to treat mental health like any other health issue and confront that in a proactive way and make changes.”

The next step for People-Sense is to open offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in 2017-18.

Its WA offices are located in Subiaco, Joondalup, Midland, Rockingham, East Fremantle, Mandurah, Busselton and Bunbury.

Winners of the 2016 Telstra WA Business Awards will join other state and territory winners at the 2016 Telstra Australian Business Awards in Sydney on August 26.


WA Business of the Year


Plesense provides injury management and employee assistance throughout Australia. In the past 10 years, it has become an industry leader in getting people back to workand providing psychological services, injury management and prevention.

New Business Award


The West Perth company provides payroll and employee management solutions in Australia and abroad. Telstra said Proactiv was succeeding because its proficiency in payroll and premium support.

Micro Business Award


This firm provides health, safety and workforce software for companies across the world. Clients includes Allianz, Rio Tinto and Honda.

Medium Business Award


Adam Barnard’s passion for tourism made him quit the Australian Army to start his own transport company in 2005. It is now one of the biggest day and extended tour operators in WA.

Charity Award


CFWA was established in 1976 when parents of children living with cystic fibrosis came together to form a self-help group. Forty years on, it continues to provide support to children and young adults living with CF and their families.