Is turning inwards the mining industry’s next goldmine?

The rise of neuroscience in mining

Rich in minerals, discovery and innovation, the Australian resources sector is an important part of the nation’s economic and employment bedrock. But is the prosperity of its people just as strong? 

As the global narrative around health in the workplace matures, industries like resources are increasingly finding themselves in the well-being spotlight. This is partially because of their complex, diverse and far-reaching nature. It is also because of the deep period of transition they’re navigating. Periods of change will be chaotic not only for a business but for the people within. 

From the transformation of energy, which is reimagining much of the sector, to the breaking down of silence around isolation and mental health. With the implementation of new technologies and increased community efforts and responsibilities, there’s a lot going on.

Post covid, pressure is also mounting for companies, especially those with healthy profits, to further invest in their employees. Not just to improve productivity or to combat the loss of perceived coherency and community as new ways of flexible working become the norm, but to better set people up for success, whatever that may look like.

Looking at wellbeing

While every effort carries weight, research shows that healthy performance is directly linked to our personal well-being. Our brains can’t fire if they’re stressed, undernourished or lacking stimulation.

In fact, our brains are at greater risk now than ever before of burnout. Despite a much more concentrated and continuous focus on depletion, exhaustion rates continue to be exceptionally high, and it’s having an impact. 

It is estimated that absenteeism across Australian workplaces is approximately 9.7 days of unplanned leave per year, which costs the economy $44 billion annually. Numerous studies also show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.

Acknowledging that great outcomes stem from enabled individuals, the power of neuroscience is increasingly being explored to help people from Mt Isa to the Pilbara feel less adrift in purpose and effectiveness and capable of regulating stress through brain-friendly techniques. 

How the brain works

Understanding how the brain works allows people to reconnect with their behavioural drivers and reminds them of the power of empathy and deep strategic thinking. This helps them build the adaptability and resilience needed to cope with today’s relentless speed of change amid the obstacles posed by an uncertain world. 

Over the past decade, we have placed an incredibly high value on immediacy and execution, wringing deep thinking and creativity out of many parts of our professional lives. This is particularly true in fast-paced environments like mining and resources.

When leaders increase their focus on the brain, they understand that growth comes not just from sound external investments but inward reflection too. From sentiment to culture, the internal experience of an organisation is its most basic measure of success.

In practice

An enterprise at the forefront of harnessing the potential of neuroscience in professional settings has initiated groundbreaking efforts. In a bid to enhance the capabilities of her team, a visionary leader, General Manager of Health, Safety, Environment, and Community Relations, spearheaded a transformative six-month brain rewiring program. This initiative aimed to empower the team to leverage the dynamics of workplace evolution effectively.

Knowing that new thinking and refreshed mindsets were needed due to changing working conditions, she implemented an initiative designed to increase peak mental health performance, well-being and stakeholder engagement. 

The team met in a series of workshops and training and coaching sessions to understand how better brain behaviours could increase social connectedness, productivity, psychological safety, strategic thinking and curiosity.

Together, they learned how to enable themselves and others to improve communication, better regulate emotions, and bounce back from obstacles and setbacks when trying something new. The purpose was to create behaviours that spurred new neural pathways through neuroplasticity, resulting in new ways of thinking and working that aligned with the company’s vision and purpose. 

The idea behind brain-based coaching is to embed concepts so that change is more easily embraced. New habits take a lot more energy and attention to become automatic and consistent. As a result, this team now has a more holistic approach to work and life, which is helping everyone feel more connected and engaged at work.

Addressing the unique challenges encountered by the resources sector, it’s evident that applying neuroscience principles might not immediately seem relevant. However, in all industries, the pivotal factor influencing success remains the performance of the workforce. By prioritising the well-being of employees in various aspects of their lives—both within and outside the workplace—an investment is made in their overall health and vigour, which inevitably translates into higher work energy and sustained productivity. This approach yields a dual set of advantages.

Furthermore, the past year has witnessed the refinement of decision-making processes through the adoption of innovative thinking and informed insights. Concurrently, a deliberate effort to shed redundant habits has not only paved the way for novel ideas but has also alleviated exhaustion. This transformation has not only bolstered the capacity to foster interconnections and facilitate mutual learning among team members but has also established an environment conducive to resilience and growth.

This is just one example of the positive well-being practices changing the space. 

Neuroscience leads to better outcomes.

Several initiatives are increasingly looking inward and picking up on neuroscience-led practices to create better outcomes. One is the Resourceful Mind program which uses social connection as a tool for mining and resources workers to help colleagues navigate mental health challenges. 

Rightfully so, mental health is increasingly being highlighted across the sector, but there is still a long way to go. While it’s deeply important that there are robust support systems in place for addressing issues already in motion, this is only one part of the solution.

Addressing well-being starts well before someone hits rock bottom. Protecting and building good health practices that negate the chances of illness increasing is by utilising neuroscience. 

The West Australian Government’s recent Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) Program also highlights the importance of promoting positive practices at work to support wellbeing, which given how deep the sector runs in the state, is an important step forward.

While the word neuroscience may feel farfetched, at its base, it is about understanding how a brain works to get the most from it. 

Success starts by acknowledging that work isn’t independent of the person. We bring our authentic selves to the job every day; this includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Making sure that teams are aligned and empowered to make the right choices starts by encouraging good health. Only then can precious time and energy be prioritised to make the biggest impact? 

In other words, investing in the prosperity of people is now just as valuable as gold. 

Meet Vannessa McCamley: Empowering Growth and Success for Mining Organisations through the field of Neuroscience

Vannessa McCamley is an esteemed authority in leadership and performance, dedicating her expertise to leveraging neuroscience practices that drive meaningful growth for individuals, teams, and businesses. With a profound understanding of the human brain, she guides her clients towards measurable results while prioritising well-being.

With a genuine passion for helping people and organisations overcome obstacles, Vannessa enables them to surpass their strategic goals. Drawing from her extensive 20-year business background, she collaborates with individuals across various industries and at all levels of the corporate ladder.

As an accomplished author, Vannessa shares her insights in her groundbreaking book, “REWIRE for SUCCESS.” This accessible guide serves as a roadmap for using neuroscience to make better choices in work, life, and overall well-being. By integrating scientific principles into practical applications, Vannessa empowers readers to unlock their potential and create a more fulfilling existence.

Vannessa McCamley’s approach is deeply rooted in the understanding that success is not just about achieving outcomes but also about maintaining a healthy balance. By combining her profound knowledge of neuroscience with her genuine care for individual and organisational growth, she paves the way for transformative change and sustainable success.

Get ready to tap into the power of neuroscience and embark on a journey towards unprecedented personal and professional growth with Vannessa McCamley as your trusted guide.
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