Amid a slow economy combined with the burden of the summer bushfire crisis, Australian workers are uncertain about employment prospects and less confident in current and future business conditions, according to Gartner, Inc.
Data from the most recent Gartner Global Talent Monitor report revealed a 4.4% decline in employee business confidence in 4Q19, which follows an 8% decline the previous quarter.
Workers plan to sit tight in their current roles, as employees’ intent to stay with their current employer increased 1.4% in 4Q19, while active job seeking decreased 1% from the previous quarter. Active job seeking has also declined year over year. In 4Q19, 17% of employees in Australia were actively seeking other employment, compared with 20% in 4Q18.
Discretionary effort levels — employees’ willingness to go above and beyond at work — are trending downwards (-1.9%). Historically, discretionary effort levels of Australian employees have been above the international average, but they are now on par with their global counterparts.
Employees seeking better management and greater focus on well-being
People management, work-life balance and respect are now ranked as the top three reasons workers cite when leaving an organization. Future career opportunities dropped four places on the list of attrition drivers.
“For many workers, the start of the new year has been a glum affair,” said Aaron McEwan, vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “A stilted economic outlook means flat wage growth and fewer opportunities for advancement, while many workers are questioning their personal priorities in the wake of Australia’s ecological disasters and ongoing conversations about the impact of COVID-19.”
“Workers want to see employers acknowledge their mental outlook and to know that there are systems and processes in place to support their personal well-being as well as their ability to do their job well,” Mr. McEwan said.
An opportunity for employers to demonstrate they respect and value their employees
Much of the commentary around the coronavirus and other disaster planning has focused on business continuity, protecting employees’ health and how to support remote working. HR leaders will need to shift from managing safety and health issues to managing the employee experience. This means providing the flexibility and support employees need.
“As quarantines increase, and schools and businesses close, more employees will be forced to take time off. For most Australian employees, this means eating into leave entitlements and exacerbating already heightened anxiety about the economy and their own financial situation,” said Mr. McEwan.
“HR will need to look beyond legal obligations and carefully consider their ethical position on paid leave. In an age of radical transparency, how organizations respond to their employees’ needs during this crisis could have enormous implications for their corporate reputation, employer brand, and their ability to attract and retain talent,” Mr. McEwan concluded.