When work becomes a struggle who do you turn to?

When work becomes a struggle who do you turn to?
Simple steps for Managers to proactively deal with the most common wellbeing issues.

Gossip, workplace conflict, performance issues, lack of training, a lousy leader, unrealistic workloads and unreasonable expectations…. these are just some identified ‘struggles’ workers are experiencing in our workplaces today. Let’s not forget the Zoom fatigue that is coming from lockdowns, working from home and home schooling all at the same time!

The struggle is real. 

For leaders trying to manage all this, the struggle can be VERY real.

But who are we turning to for help when we are struggling at work?

According to The Wellbeing Lab 2021 Workplace Report, over half of Australian workers (52.1%) turn to their friends and family for help when struggling at work which is a significant increase from previous years. 15.8% turn to a co-worker, 8.6% talk to their boss, 1.6% discuss with HR and 2.4% call their EAP provider.

But the most alarming statistic of all is that 16.1% will not discuss their struggles with anyone. Organisations can help address some common struggles workers are experiencing at work by taking steps to support workplace culture and psychological safety.

Let’s explore some of the common employee struggles at work that hinder engagement and wellbeing and what managers can do to proactively deal with them.

1. Ineffective Performance Reviews 

In an ineffective performance review, the leader often does all the talking, doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or doesn’t have all the information. They are often only completing the review because they have to.

To put performance reviews back on track, the leader must do adequate preparation as the few hours spent discussing an employee’s performance will affect what the employee thinks and does for the next full six months to a year. A lot of homework and heart needs to be put into reviews. Managers should make sure to use the employee’s job description and review their performance in the context of a discussion. The manager should ask the employee to share their perspectives on and the focus of the discussion should be strengths based before addressing areas that need improvement. The review should end with an agreement between employee and manager on performance objectives moving forward and shared understanding on how these will be met.

2. Lack of two-way communication 

Remote working has contributed to a lack of two-way communication between employee and manager. Regular two-way communication lies at the very foundation of what great leaders deliver. When employees know what a manager knows and a manger’s expectations, it creates an attitude and behaviour of company ownership that leads to excellent performance. Managers need to make sure that they are communicating regularly with all employees across a variety of mediums as often as possible.

3. Ineffective employee recognition 

It’s nice to have awards and competitions at work, but what counts most is the daily thank you. This turns employee recognition from a project into a culture. This takes a concerted effort by leaders and an understanding that there is always something positive that can be said to each employee each day.


Experience has shown, demonstrated by industry research, that organisations with process and structure in place to manage and proactively deal with employee engagement and wellbeing benefit by achieving higher levels of productivity, staff performance and profitability. Engaged employees have an emotional commitment to the work and wellbeing of colleagues which positively influences culture and helps the company reach goals & objectives. 

Awareness Co. is a Wollongong based HR consultancy, providing HR solutions that go beyond just work performance, and focus on developing individuals and teams to thrive in work and in life. Awareness Co. use the latest evidence-based tools to improve wellbeing, resilience and performance, transforming the way you think, feel and behave at work. To learn more about our programs and services reach out via our website www.awarenessco.com.au. 

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