International Day of Happiness emphasises the need for psychological safety in the workplace

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International Day of Happiness is a timely reminder for organisations across Australia and New Zealand to reflect on the pivotal role of psychological safety in cultivating a happy and productive workplace. In a region celebrated for its vibrant cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and innovative spirit, the emphasis on mental well-being and happiness at work is more crucial than ever. This sentiment echoes the United Nations General Assembly’s call for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples.

Understanding Psychological Safety

Psychological safety refers to an individual’s perception of the consequences of taking an interpersonal risk in a work environment. It is the belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. In Australia and New Zealand, where workplaces are often characterised by diversity, inclusivity, and a fair go for all, fostering psychological safety is key to unlocking every employee’s full potential.

This is a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work.

The Significance of Happiness in the Workplace

Happiness at work goes beyond mere job satisfaction. It encompasses a sense of purpose, engagement, and a positive work environment where individuals feel valued and part of a team. Research consistently shows that happy employees are more productive, creative, and less likely to leave their jobs. In an era where talent retention and innovation are paramount, the importance of happiness cannot be overstated.

People look forward to coming to work here.

Current Challenges and Statistics

In Australia, the Work-related injuries survey for 2021-22 revealed that 497,300 of the 14.1 million people who had worked during the last 12 months experienced a work-related injury or illness. This rate, standing at 3.5% of the working population, though decreased from previous years, highlights the ongoing challenge of workplace safety, including psychological well-being. Furthermore, mental health conditions led to significantly longer absences from work compared to physical injuries, emphasising the impact of psychological issues on workplace productivity.

In New Zealand, the situation is similarly pressing, with reports indicating that one in four workers is flourishing, while a significant portion of the workforce faces stress and discrimination related to mental health. The country lost 7.3 million working days and $1.85 billion due to work absence in 2020, a stark reminder of the economic and human cost of not addressing workplace well-being.

Modelling Psychological Safety and Happiness in Great Place to Work's Certified Companies and Best Workplaces

Here’s how these distinguished workplaces pave the way for mental well-being and happiness at work.

Cultivating an Environment of Trust and Respect

The foundation of psychological safety lies in the power of trust. The best workplaces cultivate a culture of trust that permeates every interaction, empowering employees to express themselves freely without fear of retribution. This environment of respect and openness is essential for promoting innovation, collaboration, and problem-solving. It allows employees to bring their full selves to work and contribute meaningfully to the organisation’s success.

Open Communication and Feedback Channels

Communication is key to maintaining a psychologically safe workplace. GPTW Certified companies prioritise transparent and open communication channels, where feedback is welcomed and actively sought after. These organisations understand the value of listening to their employees and taking actionable steps based on their feedback, thereby reinforcing a sense of value and belonging among the workforce.

Management shows a sincere interest in me as a person, not just an employee.

Comprehensive Mental Health Support

Mental health is essential to our overall well-being, and Best Workplaces truly understand this. They provide their employees with comprehensive support systems, including access to resources for mental health, mindfulness and resilience training, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and counselling services that include family members. By prioritising the mental health of their employees, these workplaces demonstrate their commitment to creating a positive and supportive ethos that extends beyond the work environment. After all, taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health.

Flexible Work Arrangements

One of Best Workplaces’ key features is their flexibility in work arrangements. They understand and acknowledge their employees’ diverse needs and circumstances of there employees across various roles, including those in 9-5 offices, on sites, in warehouses and shops. They offer  and provide various flexible options, such as flexible working hours, the choice of working from home, and policies that promote work-life balance. This flexibility is crucial in reducing stress and burnout amongst employees, ultimately resulting in a more content and productive workforce.  

People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.

Inclusivity and Diversity

GPTW-certified companies know that a diverse workforce is a strong workforce. They understand that policies and practices promoting inclusivity create a welcoming environment for all employees and encourage diverse perspectives and ideas, leading to innovation and growth. By prioritising diversity and inclusivity, GPTW-certified companies create a positive work environment that values every employee and helps drive success.

I can be myself around here.

Recognition and Reward

In Certified Great Place To Work companies, recognising and rewarding employee contributions is crucial. These organisations know that acknowledging and appreciating their employees’ efforts can be a powerful motivator that increases job satisfaction and loyalty. By celebrating individual and team achievements, Best Workplaces establishes a positive culture where everyone feels valued and appreciated. This culture can help boost employee morale, improving an organisation’s overall performance and productivity. If you’re striving to create a physiologically safe and happy work culture that fosters job satisfaction and loyalty, look for ways that recognise and reward employees’ contributions.

Everyone has an opportunity to get special recognition.

Creating a Happy and Safe Workplace for All

As we celebrate the International Day of Happiness, let’s remember that psychological safety is not a destination but a journey. It requires ongoing effort, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and learn. For organisations across Australia and New Zealand, this presents a unique opportunity to lead by example and create workplaces that are productive and places where happiness and well-being are at the forefront.

By embracing these principles, we will enhance the lives of our employees and set a benchmark for what it means to be a great place to work in the modern era. Let’s make happiness and psychological safety our priority, not just on this international day but every day. Together, we can create a work culture that truly embodies the spirit of Australia and New Zealand—one that is inclusive, innovative, and, above all, happy.

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from