July is all about looking after your people! This month we are looking at:

  • Psychosocial hazards – what they are, our obligations in this area and how to mitigate the risks
  • Employee retention – what can you do to hold onto your staff in this buoyant market
  • How to keep your high performers engaged with Career Monitor

July’s Spotlight

Psychosocial Hazards

The new ‘Managing the risk of psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice’ came into effect on 1 April 2023 for all Queensland workplaces. The Code outlines the responsibilities of employers and employees as it relates to managing work related psychological health risks. Many organisations are still getting their heads around how to proactively manage psychosocial hazards. We take a look at what they are and some of the things you can do to help manage them.

What is a psychosocial hazard?

A psychosocial hazard is anything that could cause psychological harm (e.g., harm someone’s mental health). They are factors in the design or management of work that increase the risk of work-related stress and can lead to psychological or physical harm. Common psychosocial hazards include:

  • Low job control & role clarity
  • High and low job demands
  • Poor change management
  • Poor organisational justice
  • Low recognition and reward
  • Poor workplace relationships
  • Poor environmental conditions
  • Remote and isolated work
  • Violent or traumatic events
  • Work-related stress

Looking after your people

There are a number of factors that make up a ‘safe’ place to work both physically and mentally. Businesses focused on employee well-being are committed to:

  • Workplace Health & Safety  – Having up to date policies, procedures, training and development, and safeguards designed to manage risks to the health and safety of everyone in the workplace. These are communicated and reinforced on a regular basis and are very much part of the organisational culture.
  • Psychological Health & Safety – Psychological health means being committed to the psychological well-being of all staff and taking steps to prevent psychological harm. Psychological safety includes things like showing your team you’re engaged/you understand them; avoiding blaming to build trust; addressing negativity; including your team in decision making; being open to feedback and being a champion for your team.
  • Psychosocial Risk MitigationAll risks in the workplace associated with the work, the people and the environment that impact the physical and psychological health of the team members.

Strategies to mitigate psychosocial risk

There are lots of measures you can put in place to mitigate psychosocial risks and we’ve outlined a few below:

  • Review your current risk management practices and understand your obligations.
  • Be proactive – don’t wait for issues to arise. Have a plan in place to regularly connect-in with your employees. If you can’t do this personally, build processes within your business to improve psychological health and safety capability in a structured and deliberate way.
  • Conversations are one of the best ways to mitigate psychosocial risk in the workplace. A quick in check-in chat can nip many issues in the bud early. Regular conversations build trust and engagement.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of your employee, take the time to listen and understand their perspective. Sometimes this is the best way to tackle a sensitive issue.
  • Think about the way you start a conversation – use constructive language. Instead of saying “I’ve noticed there have been some issues”, try something less confrontational like “I’d really like to catch up with you for a chat; I’m sensing you might be a bit overworked at the moment”. Minimise the potential for escalation where you can, and get the facts on the table so you are not working off assumptions.
  • Take action, don’t ignore a potential issue. Leaving a problem to fester often results in a bigger, more serious problem.
  • Don’t do it on your own. We all feel out of our depth at times as managers. If you are unsure of how to tackle something, speak to peers, seek advice from trusted advisors or bring in the HR or legal experts.

Worried about holding on to your key staff?

Employee retention is currently a significant issue for a huge number of Australian businesses. In February 2023, job mobility remained at 9.5% for the second year in a row, the highest rate in a decade (ABS).

Whilst remuneration often plays a key role in an employee’s decision to seek new opportunities, we know more and more that it is only one factor, with other critical drivers also contributing to the decision to leave. Interestingly, these factors remain very consistent across different generations of employees too.

A white paper recently released by HR Coach Australasia which showed results from a study that covered 5000 employees across 140 workplaces between 2019-2022, reflected the extreme tightening in the labour market and the pressure from all generations concerning dissatisfaction levels around pay and remuneration. However, as seen below, knowing what people are accountable for; being trusted, and having flexibility in work arrangements, made up the top 3 satisfiers for almost every generation.

As employers we are not always able to compete on salaries, especially when new employees are seeking to join at highly inflated rates, above and beyond where existing employees are paid. Therefore, other retention strategies need to be considered to deliver on what employees are asking for.

Some of the things you can do to improve flexibility in the workplace, and ensure your employees feel trusted and know what is expected of them, are:

As an employer, even if you are only delivering in some of these areas, your general staff satisfaction will improve. Imagine what your business culture and employee satisfaction would be like if you were able to meet all of these satisfiers and address the dissatisfiers? If we can help with strategies to identify and address your challenges with staff retention, please reach out.

Keeping your high performers on top with Career Monitor

Do you have key employees who you know you can’t afford to lose? High performers get the job done with little interference, so sometimes we focus our energy elsewhere, e.g. on poor performers because the perception is that they are more in need of our attention.  However, if we fail to check in with the staff who excel, and understand what is needed to keep them engaged and happy in their roles, we risk losing them. And a surprise resignation wouldn’t be so great for business!

What can you do? Career Monitor is a highly effective retention-focused tool that gives you key insights into factors that have enticed employees to remain in your business, as well as factors that could potentially put them at risk of leaving – both at an individual role, and business level.

Career Monitor helps employees to identify:

  • if they are on track with expectations;
  • if they are maximising their potential; and
  • what they need to do to build towards even greater growth and advancement in the future.

Career Monitor helps employers:

  • Identify risk factors around potential key performers
  • Build trust and engagement to boost retention and
  • Plan for future resourcing requirements with an understanding of your star employees’ needs

If you can’t afford to lose your top performers and want to know what will keep them happy and engaged, give us a call and we can talk more about how Career Monitor can help.