Caring for our workers: Advancing human resource management innovations and interventions to support workforce mental health



The proposed special issue seeks to contribute to management understanding of mental health and wellbeing of the workforce across different work, cultural and institutional environments, with a focus on improving workers’ mental health through human resource management (HRM) innovation and interventions. We aim to bring together disparate literatures on mental health, human resource management, psychology, technology and innovation to better understand how to improve the management supports for mental health in a post COVID world. Mental health in this context relates to challenges with social and emotional wellbeing that significantly impact on or inhibit the performance and functioning of members of the workforce. There is growing interest in mental health at work but there is little research on the role of HRM and technological innovation to support mental health (Lecours, St-Hilaire & Daneau, 2021; Edan et al., 2021). A recent review has reinforced the importance of the need for greater research into the interface between technology and management and the importance of wellbeing at work (Cooke et al., 2020). Recent research has called for greater recognition of the importance of understanding the impacts of mental health in the workplace, the urgent need for systematic HRM approaches for mental health, and re-thinking the role of HRM and new technologies (e.g., data and people analytics) in supporting the mental health of the workforce. 

For some time, the World Health Organization (2010) has estimated that between a quarter to half the population are likely to experience debilitating mental health challenges in their lifetime. The high value and priority on work and productivity in industrialized societies has given rise to continuously increased job stress and encroached sense of security, leading to significant and long-term harm on mental health for many employees (e.g., Benach et al., 2014; Marmot et al., 1999; Shoss, 2017). This is further exacerbated by the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which has profoundly affected peoples’ lives and livelihoods, further elevating mental health as a critical concern globally (e.g., Byrne & Wykes, 2020; Moreno et al., 2020). With the existing prevalence of mental health issues significantly increased by the pandemic, it is fair to assume that most, if not all people in our society, will at some point in their lives either experience debilitating mental health challenges themselves, or be in a close relationship with someone who has mental health challenges. This increase in people affected by mental health because of the pandemic has also led to changing attitudes and beliefs about mental health, and consequently interventions need to be reconsidered and revised especially in relation to the use of technology and management innovation (e.g., normalisation of remote working) (Moreno et al., 2020). COVID-19 has added a huge impetus for organisations to re-think their approach to managing the mental health of their workforce as there is a widespread recognition that mental health challenges effect everybody. 

List of topic areas

We encourage submission of articles that address research questions pertaining to managing mental health that include, but are not restricted to the following:

What are the best HRM strategies to improve mental health and general wellbeing for managers and workers, especially in stressful and demanding work environments?

What are the key HRM policies and practices in organisations that can help to improve the mental health of the workforce? Or what are the HRM policies and practices that create risks to workers' mental health and need to be adjusted?

What role do various internal and external stakeholders such as top management team, supervisors, and unions play in supporting workers' mental health?
How can HRM policies and practices support workers with lived experience of mental health challenges? 

How can technology and HR/people analytics support workers with lived experience of mental health challenges? 
How can mental health-related interventions/HRM innovations within organisations improve the workforces' mental health? 

What are the ethical issues emerging from managing or not managing effectively the mental health of workers, especially with the use of technology? What are the implications of these ethical issues for the effective management of the mental health of workers? How do workers and their managers navigate these ethical issues?

How does the management of mental health at the workplace differ across workers cohorts, industries and settings cultural settings? How do organisations effectively manage mental health challenges in a culturally diverse workforce (e.g., immigrant, refugee, workers from Non-English-speaking background)? 

How does the country's mental health system impact employees' mental health? How can organisations work effectively with the service provision to support employees with lived experience of mental health challenge? 

How do systems of power influence work and mental health, for example, the gendered and racialised nature of work in general? What sort of regulation is needed to ensure better workforce mental health outcomes?

What are the universally effective and culturally unique ways of improving workers' mental health and wellbeing? Cross-cultural comparative studies or case studies that shed light on the uniqueness of certain cultural contexts are welcome.

How are issues of intersectionality addressed to enhance the effectiveness of mental health strategies for workers from diverse backgrounds, experiences and identifications?

How has some of the recent social trends, such as technology, automation, and remote working, influenced the mental health of workers?

How are changing attitudes about mental health in the post COVID era impacting stigma, discrimination and dialogue about mental health in the workplace, and consequently willingness from workers and managers to disclose mental health challenges within the workplace?

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at:

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see:

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key deadline:

Closing date for manuscripts submission: 31st of March, 2023  

Guest Editors: 

Professor Timothy Bartram, School of Management, RMIT University, Australia, [email protected]

Dr Louise Byrne, School of Management, RMIT University, Australia& School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Program for Recovery and Community Health, Yale University, U.S.A. [email protected]

Dr Ying (Lena) Wang, School of Management, RMIT University, Australia, [email protected]

Professor Zhou Jiang Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University, Australia, [email protected]