By June 17, 2024 No Comments


Karen Maher, a former lawyer and current workplace culture expert, discussed the importance of fostering a positive and safe workplace culture. She emphasised the need to be proactive in addressing issues like sexual harassment, bullying, and mental health to avoid serious consequences.

Key insights and lessons:

  • Mental health matters: Open communication about mental health is crucial to create a supportive workplace.
  • The reactive approach is outdated: Proactive measures are necessary to prevent workplace issues.
  • Workplace culture is linked to success: A positive workplace culture is essential for productivity, engagement, and talent attraction.
  • Five pillars of a great culture: Safety, continuous improvement, risk management, accountability, and awareness.
  • Sweat the small stuff: Addressing minor issues early on can prevent them from escalating into bigger problems.
  • New legal requirements: Australia has introduced new regulations regarding psychosocial safety and a positive duty to eliminate discrimination and harassment.
  • Respect at work: Organisations must take proactive steps to prevent and address disrespectful behaviour, including sexual harassment and bullying.
  • Bystander intervention: Leaders and employees have a responsibility to call out inappropriate behaviour and create a safe and respectful workplace.
  • Psychological safety: Foster an environment where employees feel safe speaking up about issues without fear of judgment or retaliation.
  • Encourage reporting: Establish clear reporting procedures and make sure employees know how to speak up about concerns.
  • Be curious, not furious: Respond to reports with curiosity and a willingness to understand the underlying issues.
  • Consult with employees: Seek feedback from employees to identify potential risk areas and develop solutions together.
  • Continual learning and improvement: Stay informed about evolving legal obligations and best practices in workplace culture.

Plan for a safe and respectful culture: Develop a comprehensive plan to address workplace culture issues and create a positive work environment.

Karen Maher concluded her presentation by emphasising the importance of taking action and prioritising a safe and respectful workplace culture. She encouraged the audience to implement the strategies discussed and work together to create a positive impact on their businesses and employees.