Safework says onboarding falls short for 90% of employees, with mental health impacts
The Sector > Jobs News > Safework says onboarding falls short for 90% of employees, with mental health impacts

Safework says onboarding falls short for 90% of employees, with mental health impacts

by Freya Lucas

December 07, 2022

Employers in all sectors and industries, including early childhood education and care (ECEC), have been urged to review and revise onboarding processes for new employees to identify and mitigate psychosocial hazards as Australian states and territories face Safework Australia’s new Model Code of Practice.


A survey of Australian managers and employees shows 65 per cent have experienced feelings of stress or being overwhelmed and 50 per cent reported feelings of isolation. 


These findings are significant because under the new Model Code being introduced psychosocial hazards that are not alleviated or removed can become a risk that carries potential criminal action.


Market research conducted by NewFocus was commissioned by service management software provider TOPdesk, and points to a lack of resources and guidance for new employees. It also revealed that 76 per cent of the 1,000 respondents would fix their own issues if they had the right tools.


Organisational Psychologist Hayden Fricke said he was “staggered” by the survey results, which he believes are a reflection of the different work arrangements and environments post COVID-19. 


“The introduction of the new psychosocial hazards Model Code of Practice is likely to create huge change in the workplace and the survey could serve as a timely warning to organisations and leaders to adapt their onboarding processes to include tangible and measured support for employee mental health and well-being,” he added. 


While not all stress is bad, having the right induction process and support will set an employee up for success, Mr Fricke continued.


“A combination of positive stress (known as eustress) and distress on the first day of a new job is normal; there should be more eustress and less distress at the end of a 90-day onboarding period if the onboarding process is managed well.”


TOPdesk General Manager Robert van der Gulik called for employers to do better or face serious consequences. 


“Mentally unhealthy workplaces already cost Australia up to $39 billion a year in lost participation. When organisations provide a strong introduction to the workplace this makes employees’ lives easier and less stressful” Mr Van der Gulik said.


Changes to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation have already been passed in New South Wales and became operative from 1 October 2022, Queensland will commence in April 2023, while other states are on track to introduce amendments. In Victoria, proposed changes have been developed and are expected to be passed early next year.


To access a copy of the report, read the survey findings or to gather insights about how onboarding can be improved, please see here

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