Workplace Profiles

2021 Thriving Workplace Score



of 19

Wholesale trade






The wholesale trade industry includes agricultural, timber, equipment, motor vehicle, grocery, clothing, furniture and pharmaceutical wholesaling.

Graph – Thriving Score and Domain Score for the Wholesale Trade Industry over time

Thriving workplace score: progress over time

The wholesale trade industry saw the largest improvement across all domains in the last year compared to any other industry in Australia.

It is ranked 5th (out of 19) in Australia in terms of workplace mental health and wellbeing. The overall thriving workplace score for wholesale trade is 66.8 out of 100, which is marginally above the national average (65.6).

The majority (73.8%) per cent of workers have indicated that they plan to stay in their workplace over the next 12 months, with 52.7% reporting that they feel their workplace is supportive of workers’ mental health and wellbeing.

Graph – Overall thriving workplace score and domain score for the wholesale trade industry over time

What’s working well

The wholesale trade industry has shown dramatic improvements across all domains, reflecting the positive growth trend over the last four years. The domains with the strongest growth are leadership, capability, and policy.

Workers in the industry reported feeling the skills and expertise of staff were well used, they felt engaged in their work, and they were better able to overcome workplace challenges. This has likely been bolstered by increased reports that leaders are providing more development opportunities relative to last year.

Areas to focus on

Workers need things to be fair

The greatest area of opportunity for workplaces in the wholesale trade industry is the promotion of organisational justice. Organisational justice refers to workers’ sense of fairness at work, and elements of organisational justice are reflected across all five domains. The results from this year’s survey reveal psychosocial risks related to policies, recognition, and transparent decision making, all of which are components of organisational justice.

What can you do?

WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW provide holistic overviews of the psychological hazards of poor organisational justice and ways to address these risks. You can read more about these below:

Worksafe Victoria: Work-related stress – poor organisational justice
SafeWork NSW: Organisational justice and work-related stress

Leaders need to communicate well

Fewer workers reported seeing clear and transparent decision-making frameworks for workplaces in the wholesale trade industry. Combined with psychosocial indicators of poor change management practices, this suggests an opportunity for clearer leadership communication to staff, particularly during times of change.

What can you do?

It’s important that leadership communication goes beyond a one-way, top-down approach. Instead, best practice change management recommends having an open dialogue with staff before, during and after change initiatives take place, giving individuals a voice during times of transition and uncertainty, and allowing them to articulate their areas of concern and what support they need from their leadership team. One of the key components to managing organisational change is ensuring a shared understanding of the rationale through clear communication.

Read more about the key ingredients for successful change

It’s time to work on policies

The policy domain was not only the lowest rated domain for the wholesale trade industry in this years’ survey, it has consistently been the lowest rated domain in the industry since 2018. Compared to last year, there has been a downturn in policies relating to regular mental health training for leaders, and effective prevention of workplace bullying and harassment. Workers in the industry also reported fairly limited recognition of quality work.

What can you do?

Documenting policies related to workplace mental health and wellbeing, from bullying and harassment to reward and recognition, helps mitigate psychosocial risk in the workplace. It also communicates organisational values on the importance of mental health and wellbeing, and creates a culture of safety where staff feel empowered to articulate their rights and concerns about their workplace experiences.

If you aren’t sure where to start with policy creation or review, consider using SuperFriend’s Wellbeing Audit to understand your policy gaps and identify opportunities for your workplace to improve.

Learn more about SuperFriend’s Wellbeing Audit

Within this industry…


of workers have experienced a mental health condition* in the last 12 months
*Refer to Technical report notes


of workers feel their workplace is highly supportive of workers’ mental health and wellbeing


of workers plan to stay with their workplace for the next 12 months

Psychosocial risk profile

Psychosocial risks are workplace operations that increase stress and reduce mental wellbeing.
Read more

Inappropriate workload


Low recognition


Poor change management


Poor management support


Low job control


Poor role clarity


Poor workplace relationships


Poor working environment


Traumatic events



Table – Psychosocial risk profile for the wholesale trade industry

Highest psychosocial risk

The highest psychosocial risks facing the wholesale trade industry are inappropriate workload, low recognition and poor change management.

How can you manage these risks?

The combination of low recognition, poor change management and inappropriate workload as the highest risks for this industry indicate an opportunity for leaders to make sure workers feel supported.

Some ideas to start are:

It’s important to value each team member and recognise their good work. Examples of this could include:

  • Celebrating small successes
  • Celebrating achievements e.g., weekly team meeting shout outs, lunch/coffee/pub voucher as recognition of good work
  • Incorporating regular, immediate and specific feedback to acknowledge effort, excellence and skillset
  • Having a documented rewards and recognition program that clearly outlines how workers should be rewarded for different behaviours.

Change is a constant part of our lives and it can be even harder for workers during times of uncertainty, particularly the rapid changes many workers have faced throughout the pandemic. You can support workers during change by:

  • Making sure you’re communicating any changes clearly
  • Checking-in with workers often to see if they understand the change or need any support
  • Ensuring workers have the tools and training to implement new processes
  • Asking workers for input on how they would like to roll out any new processes.

Too much or too little work can both impact workers negatively. You can support workloads by:

  • Prioritising the most important tasks to be completed
  • Teaming up workers to support each other
  • Supporting workers to manage their stress levels
  • Checking-in regularly to make sure team members have the right amount of work
  • Making sure that work aligns with individuals’ skill levels and interests.

Learn More

Check out Safe Work Australia’s principles of good job design.

SafeWork Australia: Handbook – Principles of Good Work Design

WorkSafe Victoria also has great information and resources on workload management.

WorkSafe Victoria: Work-related stress – high and low job demands

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