Frontline workers are not being listened to about health and safety, and many fear job loss as a result of reporting safety or quality issues to management, new research has found.
Fifty-nine percent of Australian frontline workers feel unheard by upper management on issues like well-being, safety and operations, according to new research from SafetyCulture.
Forty-seven percent fear job loss as a result of reporting to management safety or quality issues, including adhering to COVID-safe guidelines.
Other findings from SafetyCulture’s ‘Feedback from the Field’ research, which surveyed UK, US and Australian frontline workers (those who must ‘physically show up to their job’), include:
- 35 percent of Australian respondents say COVID-19 has not impacted how organisations listen to employee feedback
- 95 percent who are looking for a new job say having a valued voice is more important than competitive holiday allowance
- 27 percent feel empowered to take action themselves and solve issues in the workplace
- 30 percent agree management doesn’t show interest in employee feedback, only valuing feedback and intel from other managers, and
- 26 percent believe their organisation invests more in monitoring tools over training or feedback processes.
One reason for this reluctance to report issues could be the belief that nothing will be done to fix them, with this frustration felt by 34 percent of respondents overall.
“While frontline workers have kept our nations running over the past 18 months, many don’t feel that their voices are valued,” says Bob Butler, global general manager at SafetyCulture. “It’s clear that these critical workers want a say in the operations and running of their workplaces.
“Two-way communication between frontline workers and management is no longer a ‘nice to have’; it is a business imperative. Leaders need to be arming their teams with the right tools to allow them to add value, be heard, and stay safe,” Butler says.
Encouragingly, 56 percent of Australian frontline workers believe their organisation listens to employee feedback more now compared to before the start of the pandemic.
For those in management positions, it’s worth noting that feeling confident they have a valued opinion is an important factor for 72 percent of Australian frontline workers in seeking new roles.
Open communication with management, it is agreed, is important to make the workplace a better place for all and improving processes, the study confirms.