Australian workplaces’ $28.7 billion investment plans

Australian workplaces are planning to invest $28.7 billion in diversity and inclusion practices and mental health support services over the next year.

New research from Allianz shows that Australian workers are suffering from rising mental health challenges, with retail workers amongst the least satisfied with their organisation’s ability to create a mentally healthy workplace for their employees.

Dr Sarah Cotton, organisational psychologist and Co-Director of Transitioning Well, said managers are navigating a highly complex working environment, amongst a diverse workforce that is calling for workplaces to embrace the whole person.

“It is critical that organisations view their people as more than just workers and take the time to truly understand the often messy intersections between life and work in order to provide tailored support in meaningful and holistic ways.”

The investment of $28.7 billion equates to an average of $38,771 per organisation surveyed by Allianz and demonstrates an awareness of the importance of these issues by Australian businesses.

Julie Mitchell, Chief General Manager of Personal Injury at Allianz Australia, said diversity and inclusion is so important within the workforce.

“It not only benefits individuals but also their teams, the organisation and society more broadly and at Allianz we believe in the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace that gives fair and equitable opportunities to all employees.

“As well as creating a workplace that is diverse, employers need to focus on developing a culture whereby employees feel psychologically safe and that they can bring their best selves to work. Psychological safety is a shared belief by team members that it’s OK to express their ideas, concerns and questions – and to take risks and admit mistakes – without fear of negative consequences.”

Employee sentiment at work is directly impacted by cost-of-living as 46 per cent of surveyed Australian employees say cost-of-living pressures are negatively impacting their job satisfaction, over not being adequately rewarded at work (33 per cent) and mismanaged staff shortages resulting in an increased workload for the individual (25 per cent).

“By leading with empathy and inclusion, managers can create an emotionally intelligent and safe space for all employees, no matter their gender, generation, cultural background or experience of disability or neurodiversity. Only by doing so will they reap the benefits of the new workforce including increased productivity, creativity, improved decision-making and much more,” said Mitchell.

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