When technology is your business’ best asset and greatest risk

Pentana Solutions has a rich heritage of excellence and forward-thinking, but how would the tech-savvy business help their workers unplug, boost self-belief and prevent burnout?

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Founded in 1974, Pentana Solutions Pty Ltd, is a leading Information Technology company that specialises in the development and delivery of software solutions and IT services for the retail automotive dealer network and associated industries.

With the transformation from a small Melbourne-based software business into an international company with customers in both hemispheres, Pentana Solutions employ over 550 people throughout 17 locations globally, with a workforce of 200+ at their corporate headquarters in Melbourne, Australia.

Pentana Solutions was awarded Australia’s Employer of Choice Award in 2019 and pride themselves as being an equal opportunities employer, fostering a diverse and inclusive culture that enables collaboration, accountability, and resilience.

Pentana aims to provide their workforce not only with a job, but a proud career in an environment that inspires them to continue to grow and deliver excellence.

With the bold goal of ‘excellence’ at the forefront, Pentana have woven their R.I.T.C.H principles into the fabric of their business and culture.

R.I.T.C.H stands for: Respect, Integrity, Trust, Communication and Honesty. These Principles underpin their vision, capabilities, and strategic objectives, and are critical to how they conduct themselves, and the work they do.

While these principles influence the decision-making of the business and influences the way employees interact with each other, Pentana is also always working on providing an inspiring, engaging and mentally-stimulating work environment which includes focusing on the culture, employee engagement and wellbeing, diversity & inclusion, the community, work-life balance, awards, recognition, and personal & professional development including mentoring, and developing their current and future leaders.

Like many solution-based businesses, Pentana became aware of the daily impact technology has on our everyday life. As technology advances, this will only bring more pressure on people to adapt and update their knowledge in their field. Where smartphones and emails keep staff occupied 24/7, Pentana realised it has become increasingly difficult for people to ‘switch off’ from their working lives.

It is of upmost importance that interventions are put in place to boost professional self-belief and prevent burnout, which don’t arise solely from excessive workload or office hours, but also other factors including:

  • Job autonomy
  • The fairness of how decisions are made within one’s team and workplace
  • Social support in the office
  • Reward and recognition for efforts
  • Belief in organisational values
  • Workplace culture

As part of the risk management approach, Pentana wanted to ensure that any known work-related mental-health risks are identified and assessed to determine the seriousness of the risks as workplace stress can occur when there is a mismatch between the requirements of the role, your capabilities and resources and supports available.

Pentana developed their Employee Wellbeing Framework, taking a holistic approach to Physical, Mental and Social Wellness at Work by fostering a supportive workplace environment, enhancing positive social connections, building personal skills, and promoting a healthy lifestyle - both professionally and personally.

Finding problems and solutions

During 2020, the Executives, Leaders and staff at Pentana’s Head Office based in Melbourne participated in the Victorian Chamber’s Mental Health Essentials (MHE) program – a program designed to help employers identify and control mental health risks to young workers in the workplace.

During these sessions, Pentana’s leadership team gained a thorough understanding of how a mentally healthy workplace promotes and protects the mental health of its staff members and the subsequent consequences of ill health on individuals, their families, communities, and the economy.

The MHE sessions highlighted to Pentana that developing a mental health policy that identified potential psychological/psychosocial hazards and the risk of workplace injuries would underpin the drive towards greater productivity and social inclusion.

Further employee sessions helped build factual knowledge of mental health conditions, challenges, and protective psychological skills. A pulse-check survey helped Pentana’s leadership team listen to their staff to better understand their needs and how they can better support them as a responsible employer.

The team at Pentana were determined to ensure that their workplaces had a positive impact on staff productivity, engagement and retention and used the program as an opportunity to solidify their commitment to employee wellbeing by developing an Employee Well-Being Vision.

Their vision is to create a physically and mentally healthy and safe workplace, by managing work-related risk factors and protecting the overall well-being of their staff.

Pentana developed a Mental Health Policy and Wellness Guide with a focus on creating, promoting, and maintaining a mentally healthy and psychologically safe workplace. The document includes:

  • the causes and how to identify mental ill health,
  • how to identify risks, including workplace factors that can affect mental health and safety,
  • the responsibility of managers and staff,
  • how to have a supportive conversation, and
  • tips to manage you own mental heath

Moving forward

The policy and guidance document tied into the established health and wellbeing framework which covered workplace culture, employee engagement, mental health support resources, information about the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and employee benefits. Pentana have promoted wellbeing events such as Australian Mental Health Week, World Mental Health Day, RUOK? Day to ensure that mental health and wellbeing continue to remain an important part of the workplace, and to encourage open conversations.

As part of the policy, managers are encouraged to look at work design and how an ‘entire job’ is organised within an organisation to eliminate or minimise risks to physical and mental health, and optimise performance, job satisfaction and productivity.

Managers are trained on reviewing how the work is performed, the physical working environment and the capabilities and needs of staff. By regularly reviewing workloads and resources and making key duties and expectations clear, staff will feel involved in decisions around changes to work and strengthening communication systems.

The policy has proven an effective process to monitor risks and consult directly with staff to discuss and develop solutions.

The framework also aims to offer all employees with flexibility including balancing work and activities that support good mental health, time management techniques and stress relaxation.

The policy includes a reminder of Pentana’s grievance handling Policy, Bullying & Harassment Policy, Workplace Gender Equality Policy, Mental Health Support Resources and the Employee Assistance, Benefits and Wellbeing programs to assist the employees to overcome their problems as well as balance the important relationship between work and home life.

Pentana identified that there are many different components that make up a good workplace wellness program, with employees working from home they turned to online wellness. Prompted by the MHE program, Pentana provided interactive webinars on topics such as Behavioural Change, Fatigue Management, Balancing priorities.

By adopting a common language around mental health as a positive concept, rather than the current deficit model, Pentana is aiming to move away from individualised notions of mental health and focus on areas such as psychological safety, civility and promoting a quality of working life that is good for everyone’s mental health and to do what we can to support people with mental health conditions to fulfil their potential at work.

Mental Health Essentials

Mental Health Essentials is a free training and consulting program for small and medium sized businesses who employ young workers and want to create mentally healthy workplaces.

This program is supported by WorkSafe Victoria through the WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund.

You can find out more about Mental Health Essentials and register your interest by visiting the Mental Health Essentials website, emailing us at or speaking with one of our consultants on (03) 8662 5333.

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