The Australian economy is already in shambles and research indicates that Mental Health issues cost the Australian economy close to $20 billion per annum. Why is our focus still not 100% on decreasing stress in the workplace? How are we still turning a blind eye to this matter when 1 in 4 people deal with Mental Health issues, which can easily be triggered as a result of discrimination, harassment and bullying in the workplace? Why are we not making sure that we are creating environments in which our employees can feel safe, supported and listened to when conflict arises?

HR Departments have been targeted heavily in the media over the last 18-24 months for not delivering. Trust me, I have had my fair share of bad experiences with HR departments, but there are people in every department in a workplace, who can’t do their job properly. Personally, I think we need to turn the table a little bit. It is easy to play the blame-game to avoid taking responsibility. That does unfortunately not resolve conflict.

I feel it is us as Directors or CEOs who must take responsibility. We are the ones who employ the HR Manager. If he/she is not able to develop sustainable HR’s job descriptions and engage the rest of the HR team, we have employed the wrong person. I think, the real issue in HR departments is, that we don’t employ the right amount of people on the right terms and task-divide properly. We therefore end up with one HR person, who is working 10 hours per day, while another takes 4 coffee breaks per day and leaves at 5pm sharp. It will not only affect the rest of the staff immensely, it will also burn out those magnificent HR people who are putting in 10 hours per day and don’t feel supported.

I think, we are making a huge mistake by not allocating a HR staff member(s) to deal with people only. You need a HR person, who is not trying to implement new laws and legislation at the same time. I don’t believe, that you can effectively have a finger on the pulse, when it comes to your working environment, training etc. if you simultaneously are dealing with lengthy reports.

I wonder how many companies have actually sat down and looked at how many employees they lost during last financial year. I also wonder how many companies have an item on their budget for the next financial year estimating a loss of minimum $10,000 per staff member they are likely to lose if they don’t start focusing on a healthy working environment.

The fact of the matter is, that employees generally don’t quit their job because they want more money. They leave because the company culture is letting them down. We NEED to re-direct our focus.