The landscape of work in Australia and New Zealand has been evolving at a rapid pace, influenced by technological advancements and changing employee expectations in the post-pandemic era. Between 2020 and the end of 2023, all Australian jurisdictions (except Victoria) will have introduced regulations or codes of practice aimed at addressing psychosocial hazards in the workplace. This underscores a growing awareness of the impact workplaces have on employees’ psychological wellbeing.
The recently released “State of the Australian and New Zealand Workplace: 2023 Report” by Gallup provides valuable insights into the current workforce, highlighting key trends and challenges. In this blog post, we will explore six key findings from the report and offer actionable tips to help organisations mitigate associated risks and create psychologically healthier and more productive work environments.
1) Low Employee Engagement
Gallup’s report reveals that only 20% of employees in Australia were thriving at work in 2022, which is slightly below the global average of 23%. New Zealand fared slightly better at 21%, a record high for the country. Gallup categorises thriving employees as those who are highly engaged and enthusiastic about their work at their workplace.
Tip: To engage employees and help them to thrive, organisations should focus on enhancing workplace culture, recognising and rewarding good performance, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth, and prioritising diversity and inclusion to foster a sense of belonging. Using validated survey tools such as Thrive at Work’s assessment tool or People at Work, a free and validated Australian psychosocial risk assessment survey, will help you identify and incorporate best practice activities into your wellbeing strategy across key areas of employee wellbeing.
2) The Challenge of “Quiet Quitting”
Gallup also reported that most employees in Australia (67%) and New Zealand (67%) fall into the category of “quiet quitters.” This means that employees are physically present but psychologically disconnected from their work.
Tip: To address this, organisations should invest in leadership and management training that empowers managers to motivate and engage their teams effectively. Providing meaningful feedback and recognition can also make a difference.
3) The Cost of Low Engagement
The report highlights that low engagement among employees costs the Australian economy AU$211 billion and the New Zealand economy NZ$36.5 billion annually, amounting to 9% of their respective GDPs.
Tip: Investing in employee engagement initiatives, such as positive, constructive feedback mechanisms, career development programs, and recognition schemes, can lead to increased productivity and reduced turnover, helping to mitigate these costs.
4) Employee Stress Levels
48% of Australian employees reported experiencing a lot of stress on the previous day, above the reported global average (44%).
Tip: Organisations can help reduce employee stress by implementing stress management programs, promoting and modelling life-work balance, reviewing job design, and providing mental health resources and support. Leaders and managers can make a difference by helping with workload management and focusing on overall stress reduction through effective management practices that reduce psychosocial risks.
5) Job Opportunities and Turnover Intentions
Approximately 43% of employees in Australia and New Zealand are actively looking for another job or watching for job opportunities. The perception of job opportunities influences these intentions, with the majority believing it’s a good time to find a job.
Tip: Engaged employees are less likely to consider leaving their current organisation, so prioritise engagement efforts to reduce turnover intentions. Encouraging a positive work environment, consulting employees about job design, offering career development opportunities, flexibility, and rewards programs, and providing job security can contribute to a positive work environment.
6) Remote Work Dynamics
The dynamics of remote work presents new challenges and opportunities, with over half of employees in Australia and New Zealand working remotely or in hybrid arrangements. Remote and hybrid work models pose challenges for leaders in balancing productivity, management demands, wellbeing, and team cohesion. Gallup’s report reveals that engagement has a more substantial impact on employee stress than work location.
Tip: Focus on effective leadership and management, regardless of the work location. Investing in leadership development for remote managers and emphasising employee engagement can help organisations thrive in this new work model.
The Gallup report for 2023 provides a snapshot of the evolving state of the Australian and New Zealand workplace. By reviewing these findings and implementing targeted actions, organisations can create environments that promote employee wellbeing, engagement, and productivity. In an era marked by change, prioritising effective management, fostering a positive workplace culture, and providing opportunities for growth are essential strategies for employee engagement, retention, and wellbeing.
Source: Gallup State of the Australian and New Zealand Workplace: 2023 Report