DISCOVERING THE SOURCE OF WORKPLACE STRESS

DISCOVERING THE SOURCE OF WORKPLACE STRESS

WHAT'S really keeping Australian professionals up at night?

In a recent survey targeting more than 2000 HR leaders, managers and team members across the country, commercial firm Piper Alderman has come up with some answers.

The firm's annual Employment Matters Survey asked participants to reflect on personal experience with employment and safety measures in their own industries, an investigation which resulted in a number of key concerns.

Chiefly among these were the stresses of working in a constantly changing regulatory environment, issues with WHS compliance and individual responsibility for officers.

The scourge of workplace bullying and harassment also rated among the top concerns.

More than 54 per cent of respondents reported contact with a union representing an employee or group of employees at their workplace, while 60 per cent of respondents indicated they were required to deal with at least one instance of alleged bullying in the past year.

Proper social media use by staff also spiked on the radar, with 40 per cent of participants confirming they have had to caution or discipline an employee about use of social media sites.

Participants were also asked what they would change about workplace relations law given the chance, with the responses indicating a need to streamline current regulations, legislative provisions and processes.

On the wish-list is an easier process for terminating employees, more clarity around award coverage and interpretation of clauses, a reduction in consultation requirements and a greater focus on individual employees' responsibility for their own safety.

Piper Alderman employment relations partner Erin McCarthy ays the greatest overall theme to emerge from this year's results is a desire for stability and simplicity.

"We really wanted to know what changes our clients would like to see and the very clear message was that the system is still too complicated," says McCarthy.

"Respondents pointed to reducing the excessive complexity of interpretation of modern awards, performance management and termination processes as an opportunity to improve the system."

By comparison to the 2014 results, many of the workplace worries causing people to lose sleep have remained the same.

The 2015 Employment Matters Survey collected responses primarily from four states, covering various industries including manufacturing, education, transport, finance and health.

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