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Australian workers feel voiceless, research finds

By Shannon Williams
Tue 3 Dec 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

More than half (51%) of employees in Australia feel voiceless within their work environment, according to a new report from Workplace. 

This is despite 86% percent of managers claiming that they give all employees a voice, the research found.

The ‘Deskless Not Voiceless’ report looks at the disconnect between how Australia frontline workers communicate and collaborate with their counterparts in HQ.

The report concluded three key findings on deskless employees in Australia:

Frontline staff struggle to feel connected to the head office, or leaders of their company

  • Eight five percent of employees feel connected to their direct teams, but only 13% of employees feel connected to their business’ HQ
  • Half (51%) of employees feel voiceless, despite 86% of managers claiming that they give all employees a voice

Workers struggle to communicate internally as they don’t have the means, context, and tools they need to reach decision-makers

  • Australian frontline workers say they don’t feel empowered in the workplace because they aren’t encouraged by managers. 
  • 31% of employees who reported barriers to communicating internally say they don’t have the details of the correct person to contact within their ideas

Frontline staff don’t feel empowered to share new ideas/valued

  • Three in four (75%) Australian frontline employees report having had an idea in the workplace but three in ten (29%) of those ideas are lost due to employees not sharing them with anyone
  • Only 43% of employees think their head office understands the role they perform and the value they bring to the organisation

“The future of work is going to be about breaking down barriers – geographic, departmental, linguistic, and more," says Will Easton, managing director, Facebook Australia & New Zealand. 

"Technology can connect everyone, from the C-suite to frontline workers, giving everyone the same tools to communicate and collaborate," he says. 

Easton says business can achieve real benefits by giving everyone a voice.  

"Employee engagement goes up, customer satisfaction increases and ideas bubble up from the frontline," he says. 

"Iconic Aussie brands, like Bunnings and Taronga Zoo, have used Workplace to create stronger internal culture and empower their employees to make faster decisions.”

Luke McNeal, director, APAC, Workplace, says the Deskless not Voiceless research found that there is a communication failure between managers and frontline workers in Australia.

"Which is leading to feelings of isolation and disengagement, stifling innovation and creativity. Deskless employees told us that they struggle to feel connected to head office and company leaders, that there are barriers to communicating internally without the means, context, and tools needed to reach decision makers," he explains. 

"And that they don’t feel empowered to share new ideas." 

McNeal says this disconnect is inhibiting growth. 

"We know that deskless workers – who many times are the first and only touchpoint with customers – are untapped sources of insight and knowledge. 

"To combat this, businesses must focus on engaging with their entire workforce, especially those who don’t sit in HQ," he says. 

"At Workplace, we believe that when everyone is connected business runs more smoothly; internal culture is stronger, communication is faster and collaboration is better.”

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