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People at Work

People at Work is a psychosocial risk assessment process. It is Australia’s only validated and evidence based psychosocial risk assessment survey tool with benchmarking that measures psychosocial hazards and factors.

People at Work can help you comply with your health and safety duties, better manage work-related psychosocial hazards and factors and prevent psychological harm.

Organisations that undertake People at Work will have access to:

  • the People at Work survey, a psychosocial risk assessment tool that is now available digitally to Australian organisations at no cost
  • all materials required to administer and report on the People at Work survey, including access to automated and customised reports, interactive learning modules and resources to assist in implementing a psychosocial risk management approach and evaluating the effectiveness of chosen interventions.

Australian work health and safety regulators have jointly funded People at Work to provide free tools and resources. The hazards measured by the People at Work survey are based on decades of research highlighting the factors that influence a worker’s psychological health and safety. The psychosocial hazards are also based on guidance from Safe Work Australia.

Send a clear message to workers that you value their mental health and wellbeing and reap the benefits of reduced workers’ compensation claims and improved worker productivity, satisfaction and engagement.

Watch the People at Work film to learn more or visit

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 151MB)

Speaker 1 (00:00):
Work related, mental or psychological health conditions have become a major concern in Australian workplaces due to the negative impact on individual workers and the costs associated with the long periods away from work that a typical of associated claims. Australian work, health and safety regulators have jointly funded people at work, a validated psychosocial risk assessment survey to help organizations identify the most common psychosocial hazards in their workplace, causing both psychological and physical harm.

Speaker 2 (00:32):
One of the benefits of People at Work is that it has Australian benchmarks. So, what that allows an organisation to do is to make a comparison of how they are tracking against the Australian benchmark, whether they're tracking, um, better than or the same as, or, um, not quite as good as the benchmark. So that, I think that's good information for organisations to have so they can form that comparison.

Speaker 3 (00:57):
Businesses often come to us, um, in, in our academic role and when I was working out in, uh, practice as well, asking what they can do to better manage work-related mental health. They know they've got a problem, they know their people are struggling, um, there's lots of absenteeism, or they can just see that people aren't coping with the workload. They want to understand what it is about the work itself that may be contributing to, um, people not, not traveling so well. And so that's where this particular tool is absolutely, uh, the perfect fit for what would help them, um, understand those issues. So, what it does is actually gives the business data about the evidence-based risk factors and, and well-established risk factors for psychological injury and quantifies which of those, for them, for their particular workforce, and the particular tasks that their workers are doing, um, may be contributing the most to poor mental health outcomes. And it measures 14 different known psychosocial hazards that are categorised as either job demands or job resources that may minimise the risk.

Speaker 1 (02:12):
The specific reasons for implementing people at work will be unique to each workplace. For some the legal considerations may be most important, whereas others may be motivated by financial or productivity benefits. Did you know workplaces that promote psychologically healthy and safe workplaces and identify and manage psychosocial hazards? Experience numerous benefits that include increases in productivity, increases in engagement and job satisfaction, increases in attracting top talent, and decreases in absenteeism, turnover, workers' compensation claims, and psychosocial work related injuries and illness.

Speaker 2 (02:57):
Well, think of the moment workplaces are very interested in looking at this area in terms of managing their psychosocial hazards and People at Work is an excellent way to do that. So, the People at Work program, uh, the hard at, which is the People at Work Survey is, is a way of collecting information from your workforce. So it, it has in-built consultation and collaboration, which I think is, is a really important feature of People at Work. So, you get is a sense of what are the psychosocial hazards in the workplace? And then once again, through consultation, have some discussion about how can we address these psychosocial hazards. So, what sort of control measures are going to suit our organisation?

Speaker 1 (03:36):
People at Work steps organisations through a five-step process to ready their workplace, identify, assess, and manage psychosocial hazards, which are known to cause harm, both psychological and physical, such as musculoskeletal injuries. We considered the resources that a workplace might need in implementing the process. We've designed the platform so that organisations have access to communication plans and supporting templates, implementation timelines and plans, promotional materials, a focus group guide, action planning guides, examples of controls, and a series of e-learning modules that are self-paced and provided overview of the steps to take when getting started.

Speaker 4 (04:20):
The digital platform provides organisations with their results in two reporting formats, a high-level summary, and a more detailed report that also provides suggestions for improvements in the workplace. Over time, organisations can monitor trends and the effectiveness on various strategies or actions that they may be taking. Using these leading indicators means the organisation can respond before their employees suffer from harm, including psychological injury.

Speaker 1 (04:55):
Creating an account is also really easy. You can customise the People at Work survey, distribute your workforce, and monitor the progress of this survey response rate in real time. You can select particular modules and group breakdown questions you might like to include in your survey to customise it to your organisation and see where your psychosocial risks might be high in the organisation. The reports have been designed to take the guesswork out of understanding what your results mean. They show your level of risk in relation to each psychosocial hazard, what that result means and what to do next. When there is a high risk result, there are some suggested actions you can take to help in overcoming that issue. There's also a second shorter report if you just want a quick snapshot of your results or something you can distribute to others such as executives in your organisation to learn more and set up your account. Visit the People at Work website.

Speaker 2 (05:50):
So People at Work has been around for quite a, a long time. Um, obviously now we have a digital platform, so that's a, that's a, a huge enhancement. Um, in terms of using the tool. It's a validated tool and, and has been picked up by all State regulators in Australia and Comcare and Safe Work Australia as well.

Speaker 3 (06:08):
It's fundamentally important that they're making decisions based on good data. The other thing I guess that's related to that is this, uh, compliance issue about what is reasonably practicable and what organisations, uh, reasonably ought to know about the risk and what can be done about the risk. And this tool provides organisations clear guidance about, you know, what they, what if, if they don't know, and what they reasonably ought to know. Asking these questions, um, fills that void for

Speaker 2 (06:40):
Them. If you're on the journey to creating a mentally healthy and safe workplace, I encourage you to visit the People at Work website and have a look at all the resources that are available.

Case study - Community Services Industry Alliance

Community Services Industry Alliance is a small non-for-profit organisation. We were established in 2014, so we're just coming up for our ten year anniversary. Primarily, our role is to build the sector and we do that by collaborating with government and our industry partners to build a sustainable workforce.

My role is Operations manager. I oversee all the core business services in the organisation. So that's it. How are workplace health and safety policies and procedures? And my role crosses over all facets of the organisation.

So at the time we were looking for a framework to embed.

We were at that point in our maturity of the organisation that we needed some kind of framework and then obviously COVID happened, so that exacerbated that need. We were very conscious of people's well-being and mental health for the work from home. I came across the People at Work framework during some webinars I believe is where I found it, and it just seemed like it would be a good fit for our organisation.

Initially I did a research into how the framework worked. Obviously it was free and it was run by government, so it gave the credibility that we were looking for. So that was an easy sell to our staff in terms of where the frame would come from and the kind of questions that were being asked.

It wasn't that, you know, the questions were biased in any way. We hadn't created them. They were set questions, they were benchmarked against industry, which was brilliant for our first one, so we could have a look at where we were going to see it. And so it just a case of communicating with staff that this is what we were looking at.

We're small, so we were 20 staff at the time, so we were just on the cusp of the minimum numbers. So it's quite easy to bring it up in conversations. Every time we had our weekly check in to make sure staff knew where we were leading and why we were doing it. So that initially when we first emailed out the survey, they were prepared for it.

I'm not really too many challenges. For us, the process was very straightforward. It's an easy framework to follow.

It has a cycle. It keeps you accountable and keeps us flowing. Obviously, at the time we only had 20 staff, so we were on the minimum threshold for numbers, so we needed the 100% commitment from staff. So it was a case of communicating that with staff so that they could understand and then they were able to answer the questions so that we could get the correct results.

having the structure there for us to follow? Having a process that we could review and implement and keep us on, you know, keep us accountable for everybody's wellbeing.

Yeah, I thought I suppose it was just it was a nice, easy process to follow and it was something that staff could understand and we could offer feedback straight after and follow up with different activities.

for us. The results were that we had a high work demand, but we also had high resources available. So that's good. You know, we looked at the results. We were pretty even across the board. There was nothing standout for us, but it just benchmarks you against the industry.

So you're able to see where you see obviously once you've done a second one and I've rolled our second one now after the eighteen months and now we can compare against ourself. But at the time we were comparing against industry, but it gave us some ideas of what we were doing well as an organisation and that generally we were coping quite well.

Yeah, for us it was great. As I say, it brought that conversation out. Everybody was talking about mental health at the time and then we got onto the subject of burnout, which is obviously a lot to do with that, and we ended up having some staff lunchbox chats.

So I hosted three different lunchbox chats where we didn't have any management team there, it was just staff. Anybody could come along. It provoked a conversation about what are the stress factors in our roles, what kind of triggers are there for burnout? And we got some amazing feedback from staff that were very open and it was just great to have those conversations.

And we documented all the different ideas that people came up with about changing their role or different methods that we could implement.

We came out with simple ideas of maybe putting a signature block in to say, you know, my my email, my work hours are not your work hours, and so you don't feel obliged to respond.

So just little things like that that just build up a picture and everybody's different and everybody's got different needs. So we wanted to understand what was the trigger points for people and how we could try and help them in their role.

in our work it's a lot of project work. So one of the triggers was that when we finish a large project, it kind of ends and then a new project starts and people don't have the time to debrief and kind of celebrate the work that they've done.

So we wanted to make sure that we could feed thing- little things like that into their role. So at the beginning of a project, when we're project planning, we can make sure that we've fed in the time needed to be able to just pause and reset and recalibrate before you start a new piece of work.

Yeah, we're very open and transparent about talking about mental health in our organisation. I don't think it's broken. That stigma down enables the staff to feel comfortable and safe to go to somebody. We tried to set up a buddy system where staff could talk to somebody that they felt comfortable with if they weren't able to talk to their immediate line manager.

So I think he's just broken down that whole mental health stigma and become- it's become a bit of a norm for us. And I've actually run the People at Work survey again this year, so we've just come round to an 18 month cycle, so we've done it again. So now we're able to benchmark against ourself, which is also good.

So having that conversation constantly flowing has just made it so much easier for staff to feel comfortable in themselves, to be able to talk about their mental health in the workplace.

Definitely have a go. You know, you have to start somewhere. This framework is a great framework. It's very simple to follow. It's benchmarked against industry so that you've got that kind of gauge to start with before you can build up your own data from internally. Communicate with staff, explain to them why you're doing it, and the reasons behind it, that it’s to help their mental health, help them out in their role so that they have more, you know, their productivity is higher, but definitely communicate with all your different teams we’re small. So that was easier for us because, you know, it was everybody was together. But if you've got a large team, I think it's definitely a great tool to start with and a good communicator. And even if, you know, one team does it and another team doesn’t, it's a good- it's a good start on that journey.

I think sometimes it can seem overwhelming when you haven't got anything in place. It did for us. We were starting off with no kind of framework and this is a great framework to kick you off, to kind of veer off into whatever direction. I think communication is key. Make sure that obviously your leaders are involved and everybody knows why you're doing it.

And it's for the better. It's for the health of the staff, you know, it's just not a ‘tick box’ exercise. So I would recommend everybody make small changes.

It's not massive changes that you need to make, it's just small ones.

So I think the main aim is to have a go and talk and communicate and find out what it is your staff want.

And then you can- everybody's different. Everybody's needs are different and you can tailor it to whatever you need.