A new survey by the R U OK? Foundation has alarmingly found that 46 per cent of Australian employees would rather look for a new job than contend with a workplace issue at their current place of employment.
The national R U OK? Australian Workplace Relationships survey, conducted in partnership with workplace mental health service provider The Centre for Corporate Health, also found that 48 per cent of workers resort to taking days off when faced with a tough time at work. The survey concluded that the ineffectiveness of Australian workplaces in dealing with difficult problems is having a detrimental effect on employee mental health and wellbeing.
The study of 1,554 employees showed that workplace conflict, coupled with employee and manager relationship problems, could adversely affect employee mental health and wellbeing to the extent that many felt unequipped to address the issues and instead looked for support elsewhere to escape the stress.
It also found that Australian managers lack the skills to hold meaningful and difficult conversations with their staff about their work and performance, while only half of employees surveyed felt they could talk to their colleagues or managers about personal issues at work.
Rachel Clements, co-founder and Director of Psychological Services of The Centre for Corporate Health, said that when workplace issues are not resolved they can lead to workplace conflict and the onset of mental illness.
“Once a workplace conflict occurs, if it is not dealt with quickly and appropriately there is a much higher chance of employees developing psychological problems at work,” Clements explains.
“Managers and employees need to feel confident in their ability to have meaningful conversations, as well as feel they can turn to someone for support when struggling with an issue impacting on their performance in the workplace," Janina Nearn, CEO of R U OK? Foundation, adds. “This research shows that if we are not willing to have, or start, these conversations, not only do we put employees’ mental health at risk, but it also costs the Australian workplace in terms of absenteeism, staff turnover, decreased performance and more workplace conflict.”
The full survey results, including key recommendations for managers, team members, individuals and HR practitioners, can be found here.
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