Almost half of managers admit to unconscious bias towards teams: report

Employers in Australia to invest $27.8 billion in mental health, diversity, inclusion strategies amid 'empathy gap'

Almost half of managers admit to unconscious bias towards teams: report

Employers across Australia are planning to invest a total of $27.8 billion in strategies dedicated to mental health, diversity, and inclusion as they admit to an "empathy gap" in their organisations.

The investment, which on average is about $38,771 per organisation, is expected to arrive over the next 12 months, according to Allianz Australia's survey.

The major investment comes as a quarter of managers polled in the survey believe there is an "empathy gap" within their workforce. This means workplace challenges aren't handled with the level of care necessary for all employees, according to the report.

Biases also present at work

Another 45% of managers admitted that they may have an unconscious bias, or unintentional bias or prejudice, towards their team.

This bias is also observed by 28% of the 1,613 workers surveyed in the poll, with 31% saying they feel a lack of compassion from their manager.

One in five (22%) employees with a disability said they felt excluded due to their personal situation or characteristics.

In fact, 39% of employees with a disability and 42% of employees who identify as neurodivergent revealed they have withheld information about their personal situation due to fears or being received poorly by their teams.

Julie Mitchell, Chief General Manager of Personal Injury, Allianz Australia, said their findings show that the "business case for diversity, equity and inclusion is stronger than ever before."

"By leading with empathy and inclusion, managers can create an emotionally intelligent and safe space for all employees, no matter their gender, generation, cultural background, or experiences of disability or neurodiversity," Mitchell said in a statement.

"Only by doing so will they reap the benefits of the new workforce including increased productivity, creativity, improved decision-making, and much more."

Mental health challenges

Meanwhile, the report also found that 36% of employees said they're considering leaving their organisation in the next six to 12 months.

It comes as 48% said they feel fatigued and burnt out in their current work environment.

According to the report, the cost of living has a "direct impact" on employees' sentiment towards their current role, with 46% of the respondents saying the pressure is negatively affecting their job satisfaction.

"As well as creating a workplace that is diverse, employers need to focus on developing a culture whereby employees feel psychologically safe and that they can bring their best selves to work," Mitchell said.

"Psychological safety is a shared belief by team members that it's OK to express their ideas, concerns and questions – and to take risks and admit mistakes – without fear of negative consequences."

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