Aussies employees brave the GFC

Every couple of months we like to investigate how employees are feeling about a particular workplace issue. This time we wanted to put aside all the doom and gloom in the news and ask workers of all ages their view of the GFC.

Well our latest survey looked at what Aussie employees think it takes for Corporate Australia to remain resilient throughout the GFC, and the findings revealed some relieving results for those who have been waiting for some optimism.

Here are the main findings:

  • Apparently half of Aussies have confidence in Corporate Australia remaining resilient throughout the GFC. Gen X respondents have the most faith at 55%, followed by Gen Y 47% and Baby Boomers at 30%.
  • The mentality ‘we’re all in this together’ is present in 65% of Aussie workplaces, with the majority believing ‘mateship’ will equip Aussie businesses against the GFC. The values that are important to Aussie employees were in the following order: 1) mateship 2) guts & resilience 3) ‘a fair go’ 4) giving a ‘pat on the back’. Fostering an atmosphere that values mateship and implicit trust is key in this climate. People thrive when they feel ‘part of something’ and are respected for their part by their peers.
  • It’s worth noting that while ‘guts and resilience’ was nominated as the second most powerful quality for workplaces to have in the current climate, it had the least presence in Aussie workplaces.
  • It’s time to reassure our people and strengthen your teams. It takes guts to take risks in a downturn, it’s so easy to stick to what you know and put new ideas on hold until you’ve weathered the storm but it’s not going to put you ahead when the sun comes out.
  • Interestingly, in order to keep their jobs, 73% of respondents would rather sacrifice a promotion and nearly half of Aussies (47%) would opt to sacrifice a proportion of their pay. The results show ultimately, above career progression and pay, Aussies do not want to give up their happiness at work (only 15%) and not many more would sacrifice their work life balance (24%).
  • The good news for employers who are tightening their budgets is that out of all the ways to motivate employees to be more productive, 62% say acknowledgement and recognition for our contribution is enough. Yet only 44% of respondents said this ‘pat on the back’ culture exists in their workplace.

A simple ‘thank you’ has always been free and this is the one thing employers have complete control over. Recognition frequency should not decline in a downturn, just because budgets are in decline too. The message for managers is simply not to forget to say ‘thanks’ and acknowledge their people throughout the downturn.


Naomi is the 2008 National Telstra Women’s Business Award winner for Innovation. Naomi was also a finalist for the Australian HR Awards and a finalist for the BRW Most Admired Business Owner Award in 2008. Also in 2008 RedBalloon achieved a 97% Hewitt employee engagement score. One of Australia’s outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a professional speaker inspiring middle to high-level leaders on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blog and has written a book sharing the lessons from her first five years.

To read more Naomi Simson blogs, click here .


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.