A recent study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has revealed that organisations may not be doing enough to promote and protect their values within the organisation. The study found that 40% of employees believe that their unethical colleagues not only go un-reprimanded, but are also frequently rewarded and promoted for their bad behaviour. In addition, only 29% of respondents had a good understanding of their organisation’s values and 15% had no awareness of them.
It’s not all bad news, though, with almost three-quarters (73%) reporting that it is at least somewhat important to them that organisations to have well-defined values which guide employee behaviour.
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A recent research poll of Australian workers has found that more than 80% of Australian employees feel disengaged and work, with more than 20% being actively disengaged, that is behaving in ways that are actively harmful to the organisation. They estimated that disengagement costs Australian organisations at least $33.5 Billion a year in lost productivity. It also has other negative social effects outside the workplace, with disengaged employees taking out their negative feelings on their families and having more health problems.
As discussed in our earlier blog How engaged are your employees, employee engagement refers to the extent to which employees believe in the values and mission of the organisation, are committed to their work and will act in ways that further the organisation’s interests. It integrates the well-known constructs of job satisfaction and organisational commitment.
Engaged employees are focused and connected at work, supportive of organisational goals and are willing to “go the extra mile” at work.
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Australia’s Aging Workforce
The ageing of Australia’s workforce is one of businesses’ major emerging challenges. By 2044-45 it is estimated that 25% of Australians will be aged 65 years or over, which is approximately double the present population.
Additionally, over the last decade the average age of the Australian workforce (especially the full-time workforce) has been increasing faster than the average age of the general population (Department of Parliamentary Services, 2005).
In September 2010 there were approximately 5.8 million adults not in the labour force. Over 3.3 million, or 57% of these people were aged 55 years and over (The Australian Institute for Social Research, 2008). As more people move into older age groups, overall workforce participation rates are predicted to substantially drop. Some estimates project that there will be a loss of one third of the workforce over the next two decades to retirement, redundancy and illness/disability (The Australian Institute for Social Research, 2008).
By early next decade labour demand is expected to exceed supply (Productivity Commission, 2005).
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Incidents such as the leak of the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium by Orica in Newcastle in August last year highlight the importance of safety procedures and proper handling of health and safety incidents by organisations.
Following the leak the plant was closed for 6 months, it reportedly lost $90 million in earnings, it faced court over breaching Environmental Protection laws and the incident was the subject of a NSW Health health and safety risk assessment and two government inquiries.
The incident also forced changes in environmental protection laws, which now require companies to notify authorities immediately after an incident that poses a risk to the environment, with fines of up to $2 million for failing to do so.
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