As Australia progresses its mass-vaccination efforts and charts its return to “normality”, employees around the country are emerging from the last 18 months feeling burnt out and underappreciated.
Of the 1,557 Australian employees who participated in Gartner’s 2021 HR Survey Report, just 16% were still willing to go above and beyond their expected responsibilities (slightly less than the global average of 16.5%) and only 9% still considered themselves ‘engaged’ (i.e., willing to work with greater discretionary effort and stay with their current employer).
Knowing this, it is unsurprising that 24% of Australian employees are actively seeking new employment opportunities.
WHY ARE AUSTRALIAN EMPLOYEES LEAVING?
Employees are looking for opportunities elsewhere for a range of reasons. The top 3 motivations, according to Gartner’s Global Labour Market Survey are 1) work-life balance, 2) manager quality, and 3) respect. For Australian employees, financial compensation ranked down at number 10 when it came to reasons for attrition. By contrast, work-life balance was the primary driver of employee attraction and attrition in Australia, whereas financial compensation was the main motivator when looking at the international data.
Compounding the issue further, many Australians are just not feeling their best. Of the 5,000 employees surveyed in a separate study by Gartner, more than one-quarter (29%) reported feeling depressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
For many Australian employees, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of mental health to the forefront and with that, a growing expectation for employers to provide adequate mental health offerings to staff. With a 25% boost to employee business confidence in Q4 2020 from the previous quarter, working Australians are more hopeful about obtaining new employment in the current market. It now becomes a question of whether their current employers offer sufficient support and working flexibility.
HOW CAN EMPLOYERS ATTRACT & RETAIN TALENT?
Now, more than ever, to hire and retain top talent, workplaces must be able to offer the right benefits to support their employees. Here are our top tips for levelling up your business’ employee offering.
1. Offer EAP & mental wellness programs
Workplace-related mental health issues are estimated to cost the Australian economy between $15.8 and $17.4 billion each year. This provides a significant incentive to implement preventative support programs within workplaces. Providing access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) (employer-funded counselling and confidential health assessments) has shown to be both a moral and intelligent decision for businesses. A 2014 PWC Report noted that every $1 spent on mental health initiatives yields a return on investment of $2.30. This was due to EAPs and wellness programs contributing to staff retention, improved productivity, and driving down absenteeism.
2. Provide tailored group insurance & private health cover
For many Australians, the motivation to work long hours is to provide financial stability and support for their loved ones. Recognising this, many industry-leading employers offer employer-funded life and disability insurance, as well as corporate private health plans for employees and their families to enhance the employee value proposition. A 2018 Forbes HR Report stated that displaying a strong sense of empathy and community to employee’s families allowed businesses to hire and retain the top talent within their industry. This gesture demonstrates a willingness to invest in the wellbeing of their employees and their families, something that goes a long way, particularly at a time when employees are feeling increasingly burnt out and underappreciated.
3. Flexible work arrangements & mental health leave
COVID-19 restrictions have meant many employers and employees have adopted flexible working or work-from-home arrangements. Employees have regained valuable time with their families and friends, which would otherwise have been spent in the office or transit. Moving forward, employers may consider continuing to offer flexible working arrangements that provide the work-life balance that many employees value.
A FINAL NOTE
Our Global Benefits team has extensive experience working with clients of all sizes across the globe and offers local expertise in the Australian market. Our mission is to work closely with your business to tailor the ideal Employee Benefits and Wellness Plans to help you support your greatest asset – your people.
Client Manager, Employee Benefits