Graph – Capability score over time

The capability of a workplace is the ability of its workers to perform at their best and to support others to do the same. Systems and processes that develop workers’ skills benefit mental health and wellbeing, build organisational assets and make workplaces more desirable.

A graph showing Capability over time score

Graph – Capability score over time

The capability index score continued to improve following strong gains in 2020, with increases across all eight indicators as many workplaces adapted to overcome new pandemic-related challenges. It’s particularly encouraging that more workers are getting the resources they need and feel that their skills are being used well, especially since there was no improvement in these areas last year. The most positive change was that workers have better access to mental health education, which has flow-on benefits as the knowledge and skills are useful in the workplace and beyond.

A concerning capability gap is emerging for our youngest workers, with those aged 18-24 years going backwards (down 0.4 points to 63.8) while every other age group improved. This is the first time young workers have fallen behind the rest of the workforce in any of the five domains.

These workers have reported that they are less comfortable raising concerns about their job in 2021, and are finding it harder to successfully overcome workplace challenges. The transition to remote or hybrid work may be a contributing factor, with younger workers receiving less face-to-face support or mentoring from managers and more experienced colleagues.


What can you do to improve capability?

Learning new things is both a key driver of mental health and one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing (five simple, effective ways to improve mental health and wellbeing). Workplaces can provide excellent opportunities for workers to learn and grow, and experience the business (and wellbeing) benefits from doing so.

Read more about the Five Ways to Wellbeing

A great place to start is SuperFriend’s Workplace Mental Health Essentials for All Staff course, which is designed to improve workers’ understanding of workplace mental health, its importance within organisations, and how to support the mental wellbeing of themselves and others.

Workplace Mental Health Essentials for All Staff course
Learn more about this course

Leaders also play a vital role in lifting their teams’ capabilities by making sure workers have the resources to do their job well. This could include time, technology, training or tools. Leaders can learn strategies to build and enhance their team’s capability in SuperFriend’s Elevate Your Leadership: Positive Strategies for Successful Teams course.

Elevate Your Leadership: Positive Strategies for Successful Teams
Learn more about this course

Where capability improved:

Wholesale Trade

Up 4.7 points to 66.9


+ 2.9 points to 65.8

Retail Trade

+ 2.8 points to 65.1

Public Administration and Safety

+ 2.8 points to 65.5

Workplaces with 200-999 workers

+ 2.9 points to 67.7

Casual workers

+ 2.6 points to 64

Workers aged 25-34 years

+ 2.0 points to 65.8

Workers aged 65+ years

+ 3.1 points to 74.2

Where capability declined:


Down 0.8 points to 64.2

Health Care and Social Assistance

-0.6 points to 66.4

 Education and Training

-0.5 points to 65.8

Not-for-profit organisations

-0.9 points to 66.3

Workplaces with 1,000-4,999 employees

-0.5 points to 65.0

Workers aged 18-24 years

-0.4 points to 63.8