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April 2016

Good Work: the case for employee health and wellbeing

APS Human Capital Matters: Good Work

April, 2016, Edition 3

Editor’s Note to Readers

Human Capital Matters (HCM )is the digest for leaders and practitioners with an interest in human capital and organisational capability. It seeks to provide Australian Public Service leaders and practitioners with easy access to the issues of contemporary importance in public and private sector human capital and organisational capability. It has been designed to provide interested readers with a guide to the national and international ideas that are shaping human capital thinking and practice. The inclusion of articles is aimed at stimulating creative and innovative thinking and does not in any way imply that the Australian Public Service Commission endorses service providers or policies. It is intended that the articles are accessible for the general reader, do not require subscriptions to specific sites and, where possible and appropriate, editions of HCM have been reviewed by topic specialists to provide range and currency on topical issues.

A new feature, based on feedback from 2015, is the inclusion—where possible—of additional hyperlinks/references for those with librarian support or access to specific, user-pays sites.

Thank you to those who took the time to provide feedback on 2015 editions of Human Capital Matters. Comments, suggestions or questions regarding this publication are always welcome and should be addressed to: Readers can also subscribe to the mailing list through this email address.

This edition addresses health and wellbeing in the workplace and has been titled ‘good work’ for all the implications suggested by such a title.

In June 2015 HCM provided some readings about ‘climate and culture’. One of those was Dollard and colleagues’ work, published in 2012 through Safe Work Australia, on The Australian Workplace Barometer, a report on psychosocial safety climate and worker health in Australia. In summary Dollard found that in workplaces where psychosocial safety climate (PSC) is high, managers are aware of risk factors and actively work to ensure that demands and resources are balanced. Good or ‘high PSC’ is said to moderate the negative effects of psychosocial hazards (e.g., bullying and lack of control) on employee health and productivity and consequently provide for ‘good work’ in all its implications. Dollard and colleagues established that systematic measurement of the PSC could predict work conditions, worker health and engagement.

This edition of HCM is a review of more recent material on current trends in providing for ‘good work’ and the implications for employee and organisational health and wellbeing. The results from the 2015 APS Employee Census report on PSC are also included as indicators of the benefits of ensuring ‘good work’.

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