The pursuit of life, work and happiness

by 07 Aug 2007

By Craig Donaldson

A few issues ago we published an article on WorkChoices and its potential contribution to the decline of trust and fairness in the workplace in the pursuit of profitability. If you watch TV at all you may have seen that unions have capitalised on this with quite a successful and long-running advertising campaign.

And now the Federal Government has hit back with numerous advertisements extolling the virtues of the watchful and all-powerful eye of its new Workplace Authority.

Egalitarianism is seen as one of the great Australian character traits, and this applies to the workplace just as much as it does to any other arena of life.

While the media does not always have the most benevolent of motives, it has been effective in putting the spotlight on less than scrupulous employers taking advantage of WorkChoices to the detriment of their staff.

Such employers think they are getting ahead, but in the long-term they will probably shoot themselves in the foot as candidates have more choice of potential employers.

Screwing employees for every last dollar will only get employers so far. The benefits of willing ‘discretionary’effort from employees go much, much further.

At a time when the Federal Government is looking at ways to boost the productivity of the nation, it would make sense to look at meaningful ways to help people get it right in their career choices rather than coming out with convoluted and confusing industrial relations legislation.

The government want a productivity increase of just a few percentage points to help Australia remain competitive on the international scene, but research points to much more significant productivity gains when employee engagement is self-driven.

It should be a fairly simple equation.

In the next issue of Human Resources magazine, we will look at the latest trends in engagement and how companies can boost productivity.

This, I believe, is the next frontier of competitive advantage through people.

Happiness at work is not a lofty or unachievable concept – it just takes a bit of self-awareness and some help at the right stages of the work journey.