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Implementing a tailored risk-based approach across a broad workforce: Australia Post 

Discover how Australia Post is actively protecting team members’ mental health, promoting positive wellbeing, and supporting team members experiencing mental health concerns.  

Support office team members - Australia Post
  • During 2020-21, Australia Post faced distinct challenges associated with bushfires, floods and the uncertainty of ever-evolving COVID-19 protocols.    
  • As an essential services business, Australia Post experienced a 40% increase in parcel volumes while operating within shifting COVID restrictions.    
  • Concerns for team members experiencing role uncertainty, significant changes in work demands and environments, and increasing customer aggression and physical safety concerns became a key focus.  
  • Collaborating with the People and Culture team, the Health and Wellbeing team implemented the WorkEsteem Psychosocial Safety Climate PRC-16™ Program to protect team members’ wellbeing.   
  • Australia Post paired its holistic, enterprise-wide strategy with a tailored risk-based approach for each People and Culture team.  

Australia Post team members pride themselves on their sense of purpose, from those on the road to those in warehouses and customer support offices. Despite this strong sense of purpose and connection to community, 2020-21 raised unprecedented challenges in the workplace (e.g. bushfires, floods and a 40% increase in demand for parcel delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic). There was concern that these factors may adversely affect team members’ mental health and wellbeing. 

Australia Post evolved the enterprise-wide strategy, implementing a tailored risk-based approach to address psychological risks and support workers. The Health and Wellbeing team identified a critical opportunity to introduce a psychosocial risk management strategy targeted to People and Culture colleagues who were working tirelessly to assist frontline people whilst managing increased workloads and high emotional demands. The Health and Wellbeing team wanted to understand the social, mental and wellbeing effects that the uniquely emotionally demanding environment might be having on the team.   

With the support of the People & Culture Psychological Health and Safety Working Group (PSWG), the People and Culture team participated in the WorkEsteem Program™, a holistic and consultative program that had already achieved significant success when piloted in the Injury Management Team in 2019.   

The program helps to identify psychosocial risks through pre and post risk assessment surveys and then implement actions, methods and resources that positively impact workplace mental health and wellbeing. It also helps build the capability and capacity of workplace health and safety systems to reduce psychosocial risks and protect psychological health.   

The WorkEsteem PRC-16 survey tool measures 4 lead pillars:  

  • Proactive climate – safety systems for preventing exposure to hazards (team member confidence, participation, and trust)   
  • Reactive climate – response mechanisms (communication, response, leader action, collaboration)  
  • Job demands – risk profiles of psychological health hazards from workload, workplace behaviours and emotional demands  
  • Job resources accessibility of resources for team members, support systems and protection measures.  

In response to the initial survey results and feedback from listening sessions, the PSWG concentrated on introducing actions across People and Culture focused on job demands, safety systems and access to job resources. For example, peer-to-peer forums were introduced, where team members could reflect, share ideas and talk about the issues they faced in managing their job demands. This informal approach fostered community support, information sharing and understanding of colleagues' challenges.  

The People and Culture team also committed to new ways of working, including meeting courtesies and protocols to promote rest and recovery within and outside of the workday. These agreed ways of working were outlined in a core document with practices shared and encouraged by senior leaders. Managing High Conflict Personalities training was rolled out to Human Resources professionals to provide evidence-based strategies to draw upon when dealing with difficult personalities, a key demand identified through the listening sessions.   

The program’s success has been evident in measurable positive shifts in the psychological safety climate of People and Culture team members, assessed through pre and post intervention WorkEsteem™ surveys. It has also fostered a significant change in leader and team member capability and increased team support. The Australia Post People and Culture WorkEsteem Program won the 2022 AHRI Award for Workplace Mental Health.    

  • Transport, Postal and Warehousing
  • All locations
  • Published 25 Jul 2023
  • Updated 25 Jul 2023