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Latest Gallup State of the Workplace report is in and…

by | Sep 26, 2023 | Employee Engagement, Employee Voice, Integrity, Leadership, Psychological safety, Purpose, Wellbeing

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The “State of the Australian and New Zealand Workplace 2023” report by Gallup has been released with the good news being that there has been a little improvement in employee engagement levels but , when you look at the numbers, we still have a long way to go.

The report says that 80% of employees are not thriving at work and that low engagement costs Australia and New Zealand AU$245 billion each year.

Notably, the report comments on the fact that four Australian States have already legislated to introduce codes of practice to address psychosocial hazards at work. With the numbers quoted above, it is understandable why Governments are doing that.

What are the current engagement levels?

Focusing on Australia, the report says that just 20% of Australian employees are thriving at work but that is only one point off a record high rating…. and that is a bit of a worry if that is the best that we can do.

It also reports that 67% of our people are present but disengaged and the remaining 13% are actively disengaged.

The reality is that these reports always show that by far the biggest group is those who are present but disengaged. That is consistent with most other studies as well.

What else are the numbers saying?

Other significant statistics are:

  • Nearly 5 in 10 Australian workers say they experienced a lot of stress the previous day with younger people and women the most likely to be stressed.
  • 4 in 10 Australians are actively looking for or watching out for another job.
  • More employees work in hybrid or remote work situations than those who are required just to attend on-site.

What would you change about your workplace to make it better?

This was a question that was asked of the employees who were “present but disengaged” and there were a number of common responses detailed in the report. The really interesting thing with these was that each of the responses can be directly linked to at least one of the psychosocial hazards in Safe Work Australia’s “Model code for managing psychosocial hazards at work”. For example:

  • Response: For everyone to get recognised for their contributions (Hazard: inadequate reward and recognition).
  • Response: I would like it if the managers were more approachable and we could talk openly (Hazard: poor supervisor support).
  • Response: They should grant more autonomy in the work to stimulate everyone’s creativity (Hazard: low job control).
  • Response: I would like to learn more things but the work I do is quite repetitive (Hazard: low job demands).
  • Response: I just wish they respected me more (Hazard: inadequate reward and recognition).
  • Response: Give everyone a fair chance to get promoted (Hazard: poor organisational justice).
  • Response: Clearer goals and stronger guidance (Hazard: unachievable job demands).

Note: more than one psychosocial hazard might be in play in each of these cases.

What can we take from all of that?

When you consider the fact that engagement levels have really not changed that much for years and research consistently shows that only around 1 in 5 workers is really engaged, there is massive opportunity for improvement.

Given that 80% of the workforce is not engaged, it is quite understandable that we have got to the point where a positive duty to eliminate or control psychosocial hazards is progressively being legislated as a new employer obligation across the country. Lack of engagement has clear links to depressive illnesses and is one of the reasons for the escalation in WorkCover costs for claims associated with mental illness or injury.

The good news is that the Model Code produced by Safe Work Australia and the various legislative instruments coming in to play in each State actually provide us with a great roadmap for building highly engaged workforces.

As Gallup says in the report, “…..we have the tools to fix the problem. By changing how leaders manage their employees, organisations can significantly reduce workers’ stress, improving their productivity and wellbeing at the same time”.

Need help?

Our PosWork suite of services have been built to help businesses and their people to “flourish by design”. If you are looking for someone to help you to develop a better workplace, why don’t you give us a call on 1300 108 488 or email to arrange a first free consultation.




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