Australia, NZ poised for post-COVID success: study

Poor employee engagement, however, could stifle performance

Australia, NZ poised for post-COVID success: study

Workers in Australia and New Zealand are purportedly among the “least worried” in the world because the region has achieved some degree of normalcy post-pandemic, new data suggest. While the rest of the global population struggles to maintain their quality of life in the wake of the crisis, employed Australians and New Zealanders are said to be “thriving,” analysis from Gallup showed.

Fewer Australians working before the pandemic, for example, lost their job or had their pay or work hours cut, compared with workers in other countries. “Just 22% say they have been ‘affected a lot,’ versus the global average of 45%, by ‘the coronavirus situation,’” according to Gallup. “Their life evaluations are the highest: 57% are thriving, compared with the global average of 32%.”

Read more: Business leaders reveal post-COVID 19 recovery plans

Concerted efforts from public officials and local communities helped to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the early months of 2020. “Leaders closed borders early, responded to COVID-19 outbreaks quickly, and communicated honestly, frequently and clearly,” said Allan Watkinson, managing consultant at Gallup. “Now, as leaders focus on vaccine rollouts and reopening their borders, business has already returned to pre-pandemic levels.”

This signals hope for the region. Yet, even as Australia and New Zealand are “already where most of the world wants to be,” their workers are also vulnerable to the stress and strain of the pandemic. The main difference is that the concerns that seem to weigh on the minds of Australians and New Zealanders are often about balancing their busy work and personal lives.

Read more: Australia’s most in-demand industries post COVID-19

It’s an issue that causes some to feel disengaged. In the two countries, employee engagement levels are only slightly above the global average of 20%. “Mediocre employee engagement will be a drag on organisational performance and recovery for Australia and New Zealand,” Watkinson said. He proposed, instead, three practical steps for managers to boost engagement and performance.

  • Create a culture that improves employee wellbeing and builds better lives
  • Make employee engagement part of your organisation’s DNA
  • Teach your managers to coach employees to greatness

“Organisations that encourage more conversations centred on the elements of engagement – especially as they seek the right balance between home and office working – can preserve and expand on the engagement foundation they’ve built,” Watkinson said.

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