Low role clarity In Local Government

The Services Union has been working to achieve mental health policies and/or EBA clauses in many of our members’ Agreements through our 30th Way – Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace Campaign.

Mental health and wellbeing are instrumental factors to achieving a sustainable working environment. Workers feeling good about themselves promotes increases in productivity, stronger relationships, and valuable contributions within the workplace.

The Services Union surveyed our members at the end of 2021 and role clarity was identified as a major issue. Continuing our campaign throughout 2022 means doing as much as we can to support all our members in their workplaces. To bolster our efforts, we will begin by providing members with the latest resources to navigate your rights and entitlements as an employee.

This resource will look at the impacts on employees when they have low role clarity.

What is low role clarity?
Role clarity refers to an employees’ understanding of their role, responsibilities and what is expected of them at work.

Where workers have insufficient clarity about their role they may be exposed to a workplace mental health hazard.

Indicators of low role clarity might include situations where an employee/s:
- Tasks and work expectations often change;
- Are excluded from discussions or information about their work tasks and expectations;
- Are given different and/or conflicting instructions and priorities from different managers or supervisors; and/or
- Lack clarity on who to report to, and who to discuss different problems with.

If appropriate controls are not in place, the risk of stress and other workplace mental health injuries is increased.

Risk control measures for this hazard should focus on job design to ensure employees understand their role within the organisation.

How can risk be minimised?

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (QLD), employers have a duty to provide their employees with information, instructions, supervision and training to safely perform their work.

Giving proper instruction both minimises the hazard of poor job clarity as well as helping employers meet their statutory obligations.

This risk can be reduced by employers taking actions to:
- Encourage respectful communication which allows for employees to give feedback and discuss issues about role clarity with their supervisors and managers;
- Provide up to date position descriptions and work plans; and
- Provide information about the goals, structure and communication channels at the organisation.

Workplace mental health hazards are just like any other hazards and should be discussed when they arise at your work health and safety committee meetings.

What you can do?
Talk to our Union, delegates and HSRs about putting mental health and job design on the agenda at your workplace.

Got questions?
Call Services Connect today on 07 3844 5300.