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The Challenges of the Modern Workplace: The 2024 Global Workplace Report Unpacked

Written by: Tom Mooney
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The recently released 2024 Gallup report on the state of the global workplace highlights significant trends and challenges that are particularly relevant for Australian employers. As businesses navigate the complexities of the post-pandemic world, understanding and addressing these insights is crucial for fostering a productive and engaged workforce.

Key Findings

Employee Mental Health: The report underscores a troubling rise in stress and mental health issues among employees globally. In Australia, 48% of employees report experiencing significant stress, a slight increase from previous years. This highlights the pressing need for Australian employers to prioritise mental health and well-being initiatives.

Employee Engagement: While only 25% of Australian employees are engaged at work, there is a substantial portion (43%) actively seeking new job opportunities . This disengagement not only impacts productivity but also increases turnover rates, posing a significant challenge for organisations.

Managerial Influence: The role of managers is crucial in shaping employee engagement and well-being. Engaged managers are twice as likely to have engaged teams, yet they also experience higher levels of stress and negative emotions compared to non-managers .

Actionable Insights for Australian Employers

We’ve partnered with a lot of incredible organisations to help address some of the findings in the report and while recognition and reward may not be the silver bullet, it goes a long way to compliment organisational efforts.

1. Prioritise Mental Health and Well-being

Given the high levels of stress reported by employees, Australian employers must invest in comprehensive mental health support. This includes not just access to mental health resources but also creating a supportive work environment that reduces stressors. Programs should go beyond mindfulness apps and address systemic issues such as workload management and organisational support .

We’ve seen plenty of initiatives for physical health from free flu shots to complimentary gym memberships. Mental health takes a more holistic, sustained effort. With these reported stress levels combined with hybrid work environments, how do companies build support networks to equip employees with the tools to deal with the stress?

Safe Work NSW  state “rewarding workers’ efforts and recognising their organisational contributions and achievements as individuals and teams, are essential to minimising the risk of work-related stress.” And we couldn’t agree more. Simply implementing a recognition program doesn’t address the issue. Recognition of achievements should be celebrated in line of the company culture and values; they are made more meaningful when complimented with a reward.

2. Enhance Employee Engagement

To combat disengagement, employers should focus on creating meaningful work experiences. This involves ensuring that employees have the necessary resources and support to perform their jobs effectively. Regular feedback, recognition, and opportunities for career development are key components of an engaging workplace .

We’ve spoken a lot about the cost of turnover and seen the impact recognition over long periods of time in this case study, but losses in productivity are costing the Australian economy $211 billion per year. So where does recognition tie into productivity? Gartner measure an 11.1% increase in average employee performance with a well designed recognition and rewards program in place. Manager recognition empower leaders to reward employees, with a reward, at the moments they go above and beyond, reinforcing and encouraging future efforts.

3. Support Managers

Managers play a pivotal role in employee engagement and well-being. Providing managers with the training and resources they need to support their teams is essential. This includes leadership development programs that focus on emotional intelligence, stress management, and effective communication .

Allowing managers to reward their team can create a dopamine hit and ride the positive emotions more frequently and for longer. While managers are the driving force behind recognition programs, recognition is a two-way street. There is a strong emotional benefit to giving recognition that sees 69% of people reporting that they feel happy as a result in our 2023 New Rules of Engagement.

Integrating Well-being into Organisational Strategy

For initiatives to support employee health and well-being, we provide practical insights and tailored strategies to effectively integrate into your overall EVP strategy, enhancing employee satisfaction and organisational performance. Some useful blogs that support the conversation include Managers Matter and Supporting Employee Health and Wellbeing.

The 2024 Gallup report serves as a reminder for Australian employers to take proactive steps in addressing mental health, well-being and employee engagement. By prioritising these areas, organisations can create a more resilient and productive workforce, better equipped to navigate the challenges of the modern workplace.

Our programs support wider efforts, but the evidence suggest a well-planned reward and recognition program plays an integral part to achieving a high-performing and supportive modern workplace. We design tailored programs that create meaningful moments for employees - with all work-related stresses, achievements deserve to be formally celebrated when they do arrive.

Ready to create a recognition program that is meaningful to your employees?

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Tom Mooney

Tom Mooney

Business Development Director

Tom brings a fresh and insightful approach to the dynamic world of employee, sales and channel engagement. Drawing from his background in HR and marketing, and successful account experience to date at BI WORLDWIDE, Tom has honed his ability to understand what truly drives people and keeps them engaged. With a sound understanding of behavioural economics and his passion for sports, Tom knows precisely what ignites the fire within people, offering innovative solutions that resonate equally with seasoned HR professionals and the workforce of the future.