According to Readiness insights, almost 50% of businesses could be non-compliant with new Queensland mental health legislation. Schools and Medium-sized businesses are amongst the most exposed.
As of April 1st 2023, all Queensland & Western Australian businesses need to have the ‘highest practical care’ possible for the psychological health of their employees or risk significant penalties on top of increasing costs of employee downtime, decreased efficiency and time off.
In a move widely tipped to be followed by all Australian states, this firmly places responsibility on business directors to dutifully manage the work environment, interaction, and job design to reduce the impact of prolonged stress.
The Queensland Government have termed the accumulation of these factors leading to mental or emotional distress as ‘psychosocial’ hazards in the addendum to the Work Health Safety act.
To ensure compliance with the code, all businesses need to demonstrate evidence of external consultation across four key steps:
Here at Readiness, we have tracked our key psychosocial data points for the past two years. We found over 50% of the businesses, before starting with Readiness, would be non-compliant across steps one and two of the legislation. This suggests that more than half of businesses that haven’t yet taken proactive steps to mitigate the psychosocial risks within their businesses, could also be exposed right now.
We have continued to monitor prolonged organisational under performance in the key psychosocial areas; work design, workplace culture, job resources, and job demand. Any prolonged downturn in these areas exposes a business to legislative reprimands if these employee-documented risk factors aren’t controlled and reviewed.
The sectors most exposed, according to Readiness data, include primary school teachers and medium sized businesses performing weakest across job demand and cultural factors.
Here at Readiness, we use data to identify and provide the tools for business leaders to access the broader wellbeing of their workforce. We then provide access to industry-leading experts to design control measures informed by real-time data.
Simon Kearney, Co-Founder of Readiness, says “Businesses need to be attuned to the core areas of wellbeing to minimise risk exposure to Psychosocial compensation claims, but also to maximise the potential of their workforce.”
“We worked for two years with Swinburne University to determine the 32 wellbeing factors for the modern day employee at work and at home. From our micro-surveys we can see the critical psychosocial factors and trends which businesses can address beneath its core ‘at work pillars’.
The aspects of the job that require sustained effort and thus associated with a related cost. These can be physical, psychological, social and/or organisational.
Clarity of what you expect of your employees. Employees need to know the workplace goals and what it takes to achieve these goals. The key term here is communication between employer and employee to ensure expectations, job descriptions and key performance indicators are clear and understood.
Employee’s feeling unsure of what the future holds is a leading cause of anxiety and underperformance. A lack of security is a sure way for employees to look elsewhere in terms of employment, or at the very least drive their passion down, making them more unproductive and reducing their output.
Our data suggests the leading factor for decreased wellbeing and performance is excessive workload for long periods of time. Many sectors are seeing staff retention as their major roadblock for team performance and the reason staff are leaving certain sectors is the gap between the individual’s coping capacity and the task demands of the employer.
The employees ability to control their work in order to balance time between work and other life commitments.
Our data suggests enabling staff time to switch off, connect, look after their body via exercise, adequate sleep and nutritious eating will be the main driver to improving wellbeing. These positive coping strategies can only be met if employers allow employees to balance their lifestyle and not allow work to consume their lives.
Coming out of COVID-19, the landscape for work hours and locations have changed for many sectors. Employees want more flexibility in regard to where they work, the hours they work and input
into work schedules. This is a good lever to be able to pull if employee retention is an issue within your organisation, saying this, the “tail can’t wag the dog” and company goals and performance
must not be negatively affected if employees are not holding up their end of the bargain.
Work Life Balance
Again, coming out of COVID-19 and lockdowns, many people have realised the importance family, friends and connection have on their wellbeing. As a leader, ensuring your staff have time to connect with their loved ones is paramount if performance is to be maintained. Our data suggests if employees feel they have a balanced lifestyle, they will be happier and willing to increase output during work hours.
The aspects of the job that support the employee to achieve their goals, develop their skills and work smoothly.
Tthe impact the work has on the lives and values of the employees. The more the employee believes in the business and their role within it, the greater output and performance. As a leader, understanding the passions and skillset of your employees then matching these to their work will rapidly increase performance.
Ensuring your employees are challenged and have adequate support around them to enhance their skillset. Also, ensuring boredom does not creep into their routine due to mundane work that is
well below their skillset.
Within reason, allowing employees to shape aspects of their work will see an increase in output and performance. Ensuring “buy in” into company goals is fast tracked when employees feel they have some control and input into shaping their role and their voice is heard when offering suggestions to improve team performance.
Shared values and beliefs within the workplace that guide behaviour and increase performance.
Ensuring employees feel their work is acknowledged and appreciated by their superiors. Unrecognised work is the quickest way for employees to not want to perform for their employer.
Ensuring employees feel supported, building an environment to enable cooperative and trustworthy relationships. Overall organisational performance is increased when staff work together towards the common goals.
Being aware of toxic employees within your team and having systems in place to ensure team performance is not affected. Difference of opinion is healthy but as a leader ensuring the environment is safe to speak up and the communication is respectful.