Helping organisations address The Workplace Wave

Last updated on October 4, 2022 

Managers across Australia are being challenged to better understand their employees’ needs and address workplace concerns to avoid the disruptive, long-term impacts of The Workplace Wave. Allianz has defined The Workplace Wave as the next wave of change set to impact organisations that are slow to adapt to the rapidly changing workplace and the demands of a modern workforce.

The scale of the disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is causing permanent shifts in employees’ ideal approach to work. Employees are seeking a more personalised workplace environment that’s focused on positive mental and physical health, and are rethinking their approach to work, with many considering looking for opportunities to change their employer.

Organisations that are unable to adapt to their employees’ needs are likely to see higher rates of workplace fatigue and talent loss. They may also experience an increase in the rate of workers' compensation claims related to psychological injuries.

Learn more about The Workplace Wave

However, organisations can deliver a more employee-centric approach to engage and retain their employees. Our latest research,which analyses The Workplace Wave, has found solutions that organisations can implement to avoid the most disruptive effects of changing organisational behaviour.

When employees were asked to select which measures their organisation should commit to in order to improve workplace mental health, they were most likely to select measures that focused on remuneration, support services for employees, and a shift in workplace culture. 

Two in 5 (40 per cent) employees surveyed identified having adequate remuneration in line with the market/inflation, 38 per cent identified having empathetic and emotionally intelligent environments to drive better culture and create better relationships, and more than 1 in 3 (34 per cent) consider the provision of specialist mental health leave days provided by their organisation, in addition to sick leave, to be an effective method of improving workplace mental health. 

Making sure that existing team members are engaged and retained is another key concern for Australian employers. Our research has unearthed key focus areas that can assist here, providing organisations with a viable approach to address the impacts of The Workplace Wave. 

Our research highlights a need for organisations to modernise their workplace culture following the pandemic, as employees seek a greater sense of connectedness with their colleagues and organisations.

The research identified the key drivers that would have the greatest impact on improving employee engagement, as: 

  • Meaningful connections with colleagues (35 per cent) 
  • Employers being proactive about recognising work (12 per cent)
  • There being no bullying and harassment in the workplace (11 per cent) 
  • Providing mental health services to all staff (10 per cent)

With developing more meaningful connections with colleagues being the primary driver of increased staff engagement, it’s concerning that only 26 per cent of employees surveyed strongly agree that they currently have meaningful connections with their colleagues. Meaningful connections mean different things to everyone. Enhancing empathy and emotional intelligence through training and skills development is important to help employees recognise this.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, important conversations between employees and managers were a vital component of enhancing workplace culture. While these conversations can, at times, be highly emotive and challenging for both managers and employees, creating an open dialogue founded on trust is an excellent first step towards developing meaningful connections. 

While many of the impacts of COVID-19 on the workforce have been unavoidable, employees are looking to organisations to quickly solve some of their most pressing concerns around sustainable workloads before they commit to their roles long term.

Our research has found that a decrease in staff shortages and absenteeism is most likely to have the greatest impact on improving employee retention, as the key drivers of employee retention are:

  • Rarely having staff shortages or absenteeism (39 per cent)
  • Employees never feeling fatigued and burnt out (13 per cent)
  • Having flexible annual leave policies (11 per cent)

A growing sense of fatigue from work and navigating long-term disruption is taking its toll on employees, directly impacting workplace mental health and leading to greater impacts of The Workplace Wave being felt across Australian organisations. 

As employees assess the role of work in their lives, our research has found the primary drivers of employees considering changing their employer are staff shortages, followed by fatigue and burnout.  It’s critical that organisations make sure that their teams are sustainably resourced and have access to mental health services to address these core issues.

To find out more about The Workplace Wave, and unearth strategies to create more mentally healthy workplaces, visit our Workplace Mental Health Hub.
1 About the research: The research was commissioned by Allianz and conducted by YouGov in accordance with the Australian Polling Council standard. The survey is a nationally representative sample comprised of 1550 employees (middle managers and below) and 506 managers (senior managers and above) in Australia aged 18 years and older. This study was conducted online between 3 August 2022 and 15 August 2022. Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.

This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 (“Allianz”). In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.

Any opinions expressed constitute our views at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.

Allianz acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and work across Australia. We pay our respect to First Nations Elders past and present.

Any advice here does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions apply. Before making a decision about this insurance, consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)/Policy Wording and Supplementary PDS (if applicable). Where applicable, the PDS/Policy Wording, Supplementary PDS and Target Market Determination (TMD) for this insurance are available on this website. We do not provide any form of advice if you call us to enquire about or purchase a product.

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708 is the insurer of any general insurance products offered, and Allianz Australia Life Insurance Limited ABN 27 076 033 782 AFS Licence No. 296559 is the insurer of any life insurance products offered. Each entity is responsible for any statements and representations made about its products, on this website.