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"Covid disruption has not subsided. Allianz forecasts workplace fallout issuing a warning that the true impact of the pandemic is yet to come, as longer-term disruptions to workplaces across the country begin to emerge." (1)
New research from Allianz Australia shows an incredibly unhappy workforce.
Job satisfaction has plummeted as 42 per cent of Aussies are experiencing fatigue and burnout.
34 per cent of professionals have been hit by increased work loads due to colleagues who have left not being replaced. (2)
The research, involving over 2000 managers and workers, highlights the huge disruption to the workplace since the pandemic.
Mental health cases have increased by 17 per cent, compared to 2091.
Total days off due o sickness have risen by 19 per cent over a similar period.
Employers are bracing for a rise in costs due to absenteeism - as forecast increases in mental health and long Covid cases impact workplaces. (3)
But that’s not all.
A change of perspective among employees about the role of work in their lives is also highlighted in the research – with over 40 per cent of workers and 57 per cent of managers saying we are still to see the full impact of the pandemic on companies.
Allianz is forecasting a new wave of employee resignations as a result – the ‘Workplace Wave.’
‘The ‘Workplace Wave’ is the next wave of change, whereby the disruption of the pandemic is causing permanent shifts in desired ways of working, employee engagement and, in turn, workplace mental health. If your company is slow to adapt to the rapidly changing work landscape, you will be impacted.’
Allianz find that 42 per cent of respondents are likely leave their jobs in the next twelve months.
This would represent around 2 million Australian workers. (4)
‘The Workplace Wave’ means that change is our new normal - and despite emerging from the depths of the pandemic, the disruption to the workplace has not subsided.
‘Employees have refreshed values and changed perspectives of the role of work in their lives, challenging organisations to understand and adapt to these shifts to maintain mentally healthy workplace.’
Since the pandemic first brought disruption to workplaces in 2020, companies and their employees have experienced distinct ‘waves’ of change.
During the first wave, employees experienced a sense of anxiety – and a desire to find the balance between home and work life.
Then companies increasingly struggled to get the balance between the demands of employees and managers – particularly over hybrid working.
Employees now have a stronger expectation of a healthier, more emotionally intelligent ethical style of leadership – and a work culture that places a much higher priority on mental health.
Sadly, many companies and leaders have been unable (or unwilling) to change.
Allianz highlight the following characteristics of companies at risk of being impacted by the ‘Workplace Wave:’
Staff feeling isolated from colleagues or their manager.
Ongoing issues with high staff turnover – likely to get worse as experienced staff aren’t replaced – or replaced with less experienced team members.
Difficulties meeting employee flexibility expectations.
Employees feeling increasingly unsatisfied with the role of work in their lives and their personal development - seeing them look for new employment opportunities.
Employees remaining unsatisfied with the proportion of time they spend working each day.
Managers failing to recognise dissatisfaction amongst staff – not providing an environment where issues can be raised – or not acting on issues when they are raised.
A growing disconnect between managers and employees on the importance of creating mentally healthy work environments.
The top suggestions to improve work, as provided by employees answering the Allianz survey included:
Adequate remuneration in line with the market/inflation (40 per cent).
Empathetic and emotionally intelligent leadership (38 per cent), and
Specialist mental health days in addition to sick leave (34 per cent).
The interesting point here is that research by larger management consultancies, such as McKinsey, has regularly found issues such as ‘poor relationship with my manager’ or a ‘lack of focus on well- being or work life balance’ as the main reasons why employees say they are moving jobs. Higher salary or package has featured lower down on the list of reasons – sometime not appearing in the top 10.
Allianz finding that ‘adequate renumeration in line with the market and inflation’ is the top suggestion for avoiding the ‘Workplace Wave’ may reflect two factors:
An increasing awareness of inflation, and its impact, given the higher profile it is receiving in the media.
The reality that, while colleagues have left primarily for other reasons, they have also succeeded in moving jobs an getting an increased package as a result.
1. Workers & Compensation Claims May be Impacted by ‘The Workplace Wave,’ LinkedIn, 28 September 2022
2. Australians to go Beyond ‘Quiet Quitting’ with 2m Set to Leave Jobs, news.com.au, 5 October 2022
3. Poor Mental Health is on the Rise Post the Pandemic, HRD, 28 September
4. The Workplace Wave, The Next Wave of Change is Disrupting the Workplaces,’ Allianz Australia, 28 September 2022