Supporting SMEs Toward Greater Productivity

We exist to keep people safe from bad behaviour at work and to protect the organisations they work in.

Small to medium enterprises make a significant contribution to the economy, accounting for just less than 50% of private sector industry employment and contributing approximately 33% of private sector industry value to the economy. SMEs generally do not have access to services that they need from a governance perspective and from an employee health and well-being perspective. Unfortunately, for many people working in SMEs, a day at the office can be unpleasant.

It doesn’t have to be that way! Our Great Day@Work platform is positively disrupting how people are kept safe at work, how people access help and how organisations are protected. Our platform services SMEs and big business throughout Australia.

Thinking of accessing an EAP for example ? the frequently asked questions are answered below:

The cost of an Employee Assistance Program is usually based on utilization. Usually15% of employees access an EAP program in a given quarter for an average duration of 3 consultations. Additional consultations may be arranged between employee and counselor. EAP’s are intended to be a confidential service supporting employees and their families in response to:

  • Interpersonal conflict with peers and supervisors
  • Work change / stress
  • Harassment / grievance issues
  • Disciplinary matters
  • Work performance and role issues
  • Management coaching
  • Career transition issues
  • Relationship and family matters
  • Personal / emotional stress
  • Psychological health issues (anxiety/depression)
  • Grief and loss
  • Alcohol and drug related issues
  • Work related debriefing post incident
  • Crisis intervention and trauma counselling for personal problems

Happy People Save Money

If 5% of your employees used the EAP the potential monetary savings would be 3.45% of payroll for reduced absenteeism and improved productivity from problem employees.

Reduce Absenteeism
15% of the work force causes 90% of absenteeism. Emotional factors account for 61% of time lost through absenteeism. Statistics suggest that the typical employee is absent 8 days per year. Their studies also show that absenteeism costs the employer 1.75% of an absent employee’s wages. Companies spend 5.6% of their payroll on absenteeism.

Increase Productivity
It is estimated that 10% to 15% of employees are likely to have severe emotional wellbeing problems. The work performance of these employees is at least 35% below expected levels. The reduced productivity of troubled employees costs companies 3.5% to 5% of payroll.
An employee with problems disrupts the working environment of others.

Reduce Turnover
Only 15% of terminations are the result of employees’ inability to perform their job function. Personal and interpersonal factors account for 65% to 80% of all terminations. EAP helps employees resolve personal and interpersonal problems before they think leaving you is the answer.

Stress contributes to 85% of accidents. An effective EAP will reduce the stress of your people. This will reduce the claims and rates of your extended work cover claims. Your long-term absentees will reduced as a result of the lower risk of your employees.

 We want to help you help your team toward greater engagement and productivity.



Finding bad apples

bad apple

Bad apples exist throughout society and business is no different – these people need to be found before they make the other apples bad. Before the rot sets in – as they say. I have spent much of my life finding the bad apples. I have observed that Business and employees need protection and that compliance alone is not adequate.

CCndexLast week I was fortunate to be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Comcare National Conference in Melbourne. I shared with more than 650 delegates about where my passion for keeping workplaces safe. I went on to tell of my deep sense of purpose and my thoughts about preventing inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. The central point of my presentation was that staying in a place of compliance is not a safe place for organisations to be and that ‘hope is not a strategy’.

I challenged the audience to consider:

If you focus, take a systems approach and you are tenacious, you get to play a bigger game.

For most organisations the response to prevention of workplace behaviour risk is defined by the ‘risk appetite‘ of the executives, directors and leaders within and of course, budget. The obligation on directors & organisations to provide a safe workplace is very clear. Regulators and tribunals know this and encourage compliance to a standard. A standard developed which is a minimum standard. This standard is often patently inadequate given the resources available to larger organisations.

We are seeing increased compliance and regulation placed on organisations around safety because compliance alone isn’t preventing or reducing workplace behavour risk adequately. It isn’t fueling the adequate pace of reduction in injury and cost reduction.

Cats ndexAdopting a minimum standard is like a sporting side taking the field in a ‘do or die’ final and the players only doing their minimum, instead of playing full on. Imagine the coaches and supporters viewing such an approach from their team. I have no doubt that changes would be made quickly to improve performance.

To me the approach for us is no different but the stakes are much higher. We are not simply playing for a trophy and accolades. We are playing for greater engagement, productivity and the improved health and well being of Australian workers and their families. Not just for now but for future generations.

Here is the irony – I know we have done a great job for our clients when they no longer need us…

Could you play a bigger game to keep your team safe?

Bullying & Bystanders

We can all be leaders in our own way. Leadership is hard, it requires focus and attention in every moment.

This experiment and clip serves to focus us on the importance and relevance of values based leadership to solving a problem and to show a better way, despite the personal consequences. Winston Churchill’s words in action.

Everyone has a role to play in stopping bullying behaviour, wherever it occurs. To quote this great leader again:

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” – Winston Churchill




A Blue Print for Company Directors & Boards – A Risk Mitigation Framework


Directors & Boards have a clear obligation to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable the work health and safety of employees. This obligation is broadly applied by the courts and tribunals. The reduction of risk associated with unlawful or inappropriate employee conduct features prominently in that obligation.  Mainly because of cost resulting from increasing premiums from stress claims and emotional injury.  However, behaviour risk mitigation as a function of HR or HS&E operates in the absence of ‘real’ and ‘effective’ data collection and high level monitoring or awareness. Directors may delegate responsibility for a function but not the accountability.

In Australia, regulators and community (customers) expect management, directors and boards to actively to seek out behaviour risk and eliminate it. The question constantly asked by regulators, courts and tribunals is this: “What was reasonably practicable given an organisations capacity and resources available to it to ensure the work health and safety of employees was not put at risk?”

The question asked by parents and families (customers) of people affected by bad behaviour at work is simply: “How could this happen to our son, daughter or family member?” How many other people will they tell?

The response to prevention is defined by the ‘risk appetite‘ of the executives, directors and Board members within organisations.  There are gamblers – playing with risk to brand and reputation, and there are visionaries who believe increased productivity and profitability will come from increased employee engagement and feelings of connection within in safe work environment. Regulators and tribunals know this and force compliance to a standard. A standard developed to a minimum standard. This minimum standard is often patently inadequate given resources available to larger organisations.

The behaviour recorded in this clip is unacceptable, we would all agree. Another employee recorded it and it went viral on You Tube.  How devastating would it be to have your brand and reputation trashed in such a public way?  How does you organisation collect data which presents lead indicators of risk? Are you a gambler or a visionary?

In 2013 Ernst & Young surveyed 641 companies in 21 countries to uncover the top 10 risks articulated by company directors and senior executives.

Cost Cutting & Profit Pressure (impacting on growth) – 2nd on the list, cost control and reduction is impacted upon by unexpected cost and damage to brand caused by claims and grievances about inappropriate behaviour  and ineffective risk mitigation systems;

Market Risk (impacting on growth & market position) – 3rd on the list, market growth and position is impacted upon by damage to brand and reputation from the unexpected crisis – such as a public exposure to a discrimination or sexual harassment claim – remember the David Jones crisis who’s customer base was predominantly female, the Cafe VAMP case and suicide of employee Brodie Panlock who was bullied at work, and the CSIRO public disclosure of a bullying culture.

Regulation & Compliance – 7th on the list, this concern is impacted upon by the ever-increasing compliance requirements. For example, changes to the Fair Work Act, which included new powers for the Fair Work Commission to stop workplace bullying and adverse action.

If there was a way to identify and reduce risk through early intervention, would you be interested? What questions need to be asked to facilitate that?

A blue print for effective risk mitigation & compliance requires Directors to ask 5 key questions:

  • “How do our systems of data collection effectively identify, measure and enable mitigation of behaviour risk for our business?”
  • “How do we ensure we are firmly in the preventative space and not in a reactive one?
  • “How do we identify what workplace behaviours are accepted and promoted in our business?”
  • “How do our structures and processes governing how work support risk mitigation?”
  • “Whom can our employees really talk to when they have a concern or problem about another employee’s behaviour?”

If these reasonable questions are asked openly, the path will emerge about what needs to be done. Support is available.


Workplaces ‘Fit for People’ & 21st Century Management & Leadership


A parliamentary inquiry in New South Wales (Australia) into the alleged toxic culture of the NSW Work Cover health & safety regulator was damming. The report by PWC found among other things, a failure of management and leadership:

the leadership team has historically not demonstrated leadership capability and action concerning bullying and harassment”.

The PWC report referred to a worrying observation:

  • 40% of people at the regulator indicated that they had been bullied and/or harassed in the workplace and 52% of those reported the source of the behaviour was a manager or supervisor.

PWC was of the view that a ‘long-term commitment’ and ‘concerted focus’ on organisational culture was required along with a ‘spirit of cooperation’ between agency management, employees and their unions.  I agree with them and collaboration is vital. Values based leadership is a must for 21st Century workplaces to be ‘fit for people’. People can do their best work when they feel safe, engaged and valued.

When I read the PWC report I was saddened, and I asked myself what do organisations need from leaders in the 21st Century to prevent damage to people and reputation. How do we create organisations that are future focused and fit for people to work in ?

I remembered listening to a Gary Hamel presentation where he talked about creating workplaces that are ‘fit for humans. It is worth re-visiting what Gary Hamel had to say.

Gary Hamel - 'Web' AnalogyImagine, what would it be like to work in a place that embraced these 21st Century leadership values?


Myths about work place bullying

Bullying Def

I have heard many descriptions and definitions of bullying. Most times people jest or diminish the meaning of the word as if they are trying to dismiss it. I thought it worthwhile to be really clear.

  • It is not ‘just’ a personality clash
  • It is not a leadership style
  • It is not a matter of perception
  • It is not a difficult conversation in a performance review

It is ‘repeated, unreasonable behaviour that creates a risk to the health and safety of an individual or a group’ The important thing to know is that ignoring it will not make it go away!  If you see it, or experience it – do something about it. Everyone is entitled to a ‘great day at work.’

Protect or Perpetrate


Bully or bystander. Is it the same thing?

In Lt General Morrison address at the June 2014 global summit to end sexual violence in conflict – made a bold and powerful statement – polarising debate – engaging people behind his call for an end to sexual violence and greater equality for women in military roles in times of conflict.

Every day at Risk to Business we work in businesses who find themselves ‘surprised’ by the behaviour of some of their employees. I am very glad that Morrison has spoken out – and it is relevant for all work places.

He showed insights and strong leadership to make his statement , particularly in face of recent allegations about inappropriate behaviour in the Australian Defence Force. Morrison has said “enough.Here is the report.

Morrison states that  “They (soldiers) either protect or perpetrate”.  In other words there is no middle ground. If you see bullying and do nothing about it then you too are a perpetrator. Ignoring someone in pain – turning a blind eye – not helping is condoning the behaviour of the perpetrator and makes the witness one too/

His comment is very relevant to my earlier blog about ‘Bullies & Bystanders

Morrison also said: “There are no bystanders — the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” And I wholeheartedly agree with him.

Do you agree? – Let me know your thoughts

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Rushing to the urgent; forgetting the important.

An open source opportunity


Recently I attended the AHRI in focus conferences and spoke about workplace bullying in Australia. It was an energising and insightful experience to share what I know from my career working in social justice.

Practitioners approached me lamenting what happens when something does go pear shaped in their workplace. Each story had a common theme, their day, their week disappeared when they got a phone call about a workplace complaint. Everything they were doing had to be dropped to focus on the urgent issue.

I found myself reflecting this frustration on rushing to urgent issues and not being able to work on the important strategic HR issues.

I asked myself ‘How can I support practitioners do their best work?’ So many things cascaded in my mind and too many to mention all at once here.

I then asked how can I share what I know – in a simple step that is ‘open source’ my expertise in the way the tech industry collaborates on ideas.

It has taken some time to put together but here is my open source audit tool – which covers all the basic areas needing to be considered in line with the current legislation.

If my ‘open source audit tool goes to plan it should result in my overworked HR peers having a deeper understanding of his or her ‘duty of care’ – and in so doing maybe minimizing the number of times that his or her day get’s hijacked by the urgent – rather than focusing on the important.

Please feel free to share it.

Open Source HR Risk Audit Tool







The Impact of Bullying – Leadership Required

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Nearly 80,000 people have viewed this video which shows the impact of workplace bullying on people.

It explores why leadership is critical.

The definition of workplace bullying is different in Australia – but the outcome and damage it causes the same.

It is defined here as: ‘repeated, unreasonable behaviour that creates a risk to the health and safety of an individual or a group’.

Although the definition is different, the outcomes on people, business and productivity are relevant. The commentary on leadership is particularly interesting.

Take 10 minutes to view the video – and if you don’t know where your business is positioned regarding bullying and other anti social behaviour – then do the self assessment by clicking here. Workplace Behaviour Risk Audit Survey