Tag: Workplace Culture

Report reveals HR leaders experience dread due to job demands and mental health neglect

According to a new report from Headspace, many HR leaders are experiencing dread, with several factors contributing to this feeling. The report highlighted the biggest drivers of panic among HR professionals. Burnout from emotional caregiving for employees and feeling overwhelmed by expectations to take on more job responsibilities were two major causes of dread, according to the report. Worrying over not being able to meet expectations and the constant feeling of unpredictability at work were also factors that contributed to the negative emotions.

The survey, which had more than 400 CEOs and 4,000 employees participating, also found that 94% of HR leaders feel an “increasing responsibility to improve company culture by supporting employee mental health.” However, only 41% of them said they use mental health benefits regularly. The report also discovered that 91% of HR leaders view their mental health benefits programs favorably, but only 17% of them don’t feel dread at work.

The report attributed the low usage of mental health benefits by HR leaders to the heavy responsibilities they shoulder, leaving them with less time to focus on themselves. The report also revealed that HR leaders are the people who are least likely to use their mental health benefits, as 64% of CEOs use these benefits at work, while 73% of employees take advantage of them.

To help tackle the situation, the report recommended taking the next steps to help take care of HR leaders’ mental health. These include encouraging HR leaders to put their “own oxygen mask on first” and proactively checking in with them. Additionally, setting up dedicated time for leadership and development and creating a boundary statement were recommended.

Désirée Pascual, Headspace’s chief people officer, underscored the importance of taking care of oneself amid uncertainty and changes in the environment. She noted that “People leaders are exhausted, with many of us asking – ‘How do we sustain ourselves amidst all this uncertainty and change, while continuing to create stability for others?’ We owe it to ourselves, and our teams, to carve out time each and every day to take care of ourselves first and foremost.”

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A toxic workplace is the primary reason for employees resigning

Brits are more than twice as likely to leave their job due to negative company culture or a toxic working environment – more than the limitations of flexible working, a survey revealed.

The Cpl’s Talent Evolution Group survey of 1,500 UK employees, puts the onus on employers to prioritise employee satisfaction and instil an inclusive and positive culture in the workplace. Organisations need to meet the expectations of employees to attract and retain talent at a time where the talent shortage is at an all-time high.

Over 80% of 25–44-year-olds would not consider limitations to flexible working a reason to hand in their notice, challenging the general consensus.

The top reasons for why employees to consider resigning are;

  • Ineffective or toxic line management
  • Lack of recognition
  • Negative company culture
  • Toxic working environment
  • Poor job security

Barry Winkless, CSO of Cpl and Head of Cpl’s Future of Work Institute said: “In a world competing for the best talent, many businesses are ill-equipped to position themselves as an attractive, destination workplace that puts a human and holistic approach at the centre. The creation of a true destination workplace requires a constant focus on ensuring a fully diverse and inclusive environment which allows people to be themselves at work.

“By focusing on holistic needs- personal, emotional, and social- across diverse workforces, we can continuously improve the humanity of an organisation. Meeting these new expectations of employees will be fundamental to retaining precious talent.”

For more information; https://www.talentevolutiongroup.com.

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As 75% of UK employees believe the workplace lacks an open environment to discuss infertility

According to the 2023 Workplace Infertility Stigma Survey by Fertility Family, there are widespread concerns that fertility struggles are hindering career aspirations, yet only 16% of companies have supportive policies for employees facing fertility issues. The survey gathered insights from 248 UK employees who had experienced difficulties in the workplace due to their fertility journey. The findings showed that just 1 in 4 respondents felt their company understood and supported them, while 1 in 5 feared their fertility struggles could negatively impact future opportunities.

The survey also revealed that only 1 in 4 people received compassionate leave or paid time off for fertility appointments. This news follows the release of a new Fertility Treatment Employment Rights Bill, which proposes a statutory right for employees to take time off work to attend fertility clinic appointments. The World Health Organization’s report found that 1 in 6 people worldwide are affected by infertility.

To better support employees facing fertility struggles, the survey found that 77% of employees want employers to offer flexible working arrangements to attend fertility-related appointments. Over half of the respondents believe that paid compassionate leave should be provided, and 41% agreed that financial support and fertility counselling should be offered to those undergoing fertility treatment. Additionally, more than a third of employees wanted line managers to receive training on fertility issues and how to approach such conversations with colleagues.

Kate Palmer, Director of HR Advice and Consultancy at Peninsula, advised employers to create a culture of open communication and support for employees facing fertility struggles. This includes introducing mental health first aiders or appointing fertility or women’s health champions who can be a point of contact for those who prefer not to discuss their struggles with a line manager or HR team member. Employers should also ensure all senior staff members are trained on how to discuss health conditions effectively and empathetically to avoid unintentionally causing harm. A fertility policy that incorporates support measures for individuals experiencing fertility issues can help affected employees feel more confident and comfortable at work.

Read the full study here.

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UK Workplace Survey Exposes Major Employee-Employer Disconnect

UK-based employees and employers experience a major disconnect in the workplace – leading to a decrease in career progression and productivity, according to a new survey. 

 The data, released by Right Management, as part of the ManpowerGroup UK Hiring Forces and Employers Survey, reveals the impact the cost-of-living crisis has on employees. 

 Key survey findings; 

  • 28% of UK workers wish their managers understood their financial challenges 
  • 26% want managers to understand the impact work has on their mental health 
  • 26% of hybrid workers are less likely to be considered for a promotion 
  • 38% of remote workers are less likely to spend time with senior managers.  

 Health Assured, the UK and Ireland’s largest employee assistance plan (EAP) provider, has seen a 26% increase in the number of urgent calls over the last three years – showing that businesses have to find ways to ensure leaders and managers are proactively encouraging productive conversations around challenging issues.  

  On the back of the survey, Right Management suggests the following steps to create a harmonious workplace:    

 Earn trust 

Businesses need to encourage managers to engage with their employees and build a positive working relationship – this builds up a two-way trust, which is integral to a positive workplace culture. 

 Be honest and open-minded 

When an employee trusts their manager and vice versa, they’re more likely to feel comfortable enough to confide in their manager. 

 Be objective 

With the need for trust and empathy underlined, managers should remember that alongside employee well-being, the best interests of the organisation have to remain a priority. 

 Sarah Hernon, Principal Consultant at Right Management said: “The survey shows a significant number of employees are expecting empathy or support from their employers, without necessarily communicating what they need. 

 Together, these findings suggest several opportunities are being missed, whether that’s opportunities for employees to be open and honest about the challenges they face inside and outside of work, or employers to ensure that remote workers are being considered fairly. 

 The art of conversation is one every leader should master. Managers need to have effective conversations with their people to understand their circumstances better; a higher proportion of the remote workforce are women, often due to parental responsibilities – should they miss out on the opportunity for promotion because of this? Absolutely not.” 

 For more information www.rightmanagement.co.uk 

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Senior managers under more stress than their teams realise, survey reveals

A new survey by HR software provider Ciphr has revealed that the cost-of-living crisis, high inflation and rising prices, and burnout are the biggest causes of stress at work for senior managers.

The survey polled 265 people in senior management and leadership roles at medium and large businesses in the UK. The respondents were asked what issues were causing them the biggest concern or most stress in their job. They were also asked whether they ever felt stressed or anxious before starting a new work week – also known as the ‘Sunday scaries’ or ‘Sunday blues’.

With 47% of the respondents saying that their job is causing them to suffer the ‘Sunday scaries’, it would appear that many senior managers are more overwhelmed by on-the-job stress than their colleagues and direct reports realise.

Of the 47% who admitted to dreading Mondays, 29% said they had experienced this feeling multiple times over the past year. A further 13% said the ‘Sunday scaries’ struck multiple times every month. For 5%, this experience happens every week.

Only 22% of the senior managers claimed not to have experienced the ‘Sunday blues’ while working at their current job or organisation.

The results also revealed that the bigger the workforce size, the greater the occurrence of the ‘Sunday scaries’, with senior leaders at bigger enterprises being more than twice as likely to experience the ‘Sunday scaries’ multiple times a month than those at SMEs (24% vs. 11%).

Survey results suggest that challenges relating to remote employment – and reduced social interaction exacerbate the stress of 18% of senior managers at remote-first organisations. However, with senior managers who have more in-person time in their role, the number falls to 10%.

Even if people don’t experience the ‘Sunday scaries’, they may still be stressed. Ciphr’s research found that 98% of people in senior management and leadership roles – regardless of whether they suffer from the ‘Sunday scaries’ or not feel stressed by at least one thing at work. Eighty-three percent could name three or more work-related stressors.

Interestingly, despite the stress, only 4% of senior managers said that they don’t like their jobs.

The top 15 causes of workplace stress for senior managers:

  • Cost of living crisis (30% of senior managers)
  • High inflation and rising prices (29%)
  • Exhaustion/burnout (22%)
  • Economic downturn (20%)
  • Workload and to-do lists (20%)
  • Unfinished work tasks (20%)
  • Employee retention and staff turnover (17%)
  • Rising interest rates (17%)
  • Business viability and profitability concerns (16%)
  • Wage inflation (16%)
  • Productivity problems (15%)
  • Pressure to perform well / expectations of others (15%)
  • Job security / losing my job (15%)
  • Growing the business / generating new revenue (15%)
  • Leadership responsibilities (14%)
  • Managing other people / the people I manage (14%)
  • Long working hours (14%)
  • Ongoing impact of Covid (14%)

Some common stressors noticeably affect the senior managers that frequently experience the ‘Sunday scaries’ compared to those who don’t:

  • Burnout (27% compared to 18%)
  • Pressure to perform well (20% compared to 10%)
  • Fear of losing their job (20% compared to 10%)
  • Long working hours (19% compared to 9%)
  • Their boss (16% compared to 7%)
  • Conflicts at work (15% compared to 8%)

Claire Williams, Chief People Officer at Ciphr, commented: “Since the pandemic, and with the ongoing impact of the cost-of-living crisis, there has been a lot of focus on the importance of alleviating workplace stress and what employers can do to safeguard their employees’ mental health. But less is said, perhaps, about the huge pressures that people in senior management and leadership roles feel and how stress impacts them.

 “The biggest stressors identified by the senior managers taking Ciphr’s survey can be grouped into three key themes, which orientate around workload, company performance, and their team. This is understandable, as it is expected, to a degree, that senior managers in any organisation will take on the ownership of those responsibilities in managing or leading an organisation. It shows they care, and that they care about the right things.

 “It is, however, important for organisations to be really mindful of the influence that work has on an individual’s stress levels – especially if they are senior management or the CEO – as they may be less likely to discuss how they are feeling. The best way to support them is for organisations to work proactively with their senior managers to either help relieve those stresses, where possible, or give them tools and strategies to cope with those stresses in a more targeted and positive way.

 “Stress, in general, doesn’t always need to be perceived as a negative – lots of people really thrive under stress and high-pressure situations – and produce some of their best work. But when high levels of stress cause anxiety or the Sunday scaries, that’s when increased risks to the business can start presenting themselves, through ill health, higher turnover of senior managers, ineffective leadership, or poor performance. It’s definitely in an employer’s interest to understand how their managers are feeling and what they can do to help, if there’s a problem, before it impacts the wider business.”

The full results are available at https://www.ciphr.com/causes-of-stress-at-work-2023-survey-results.

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There’s been a 13% in reported bullying in the workplace post-pandemic  

Twenty-three percent of employees worldwide admit to having experienced workplace bullying – a behavior that goes well beyond the office walls and into the remote work realm. What’s even worse, workplace bullying has been on the rise since the pandemic – there is a 13% increase, in fact, compared to pre-pandemic numbers. The practice also accounts for 23% of resignations in the U.S., further expanding the skill gap in the labor market. 

Remote bullying is one of the driving factors in toxic workplace behavior. In contrast to real-time workplace bullying, which might manifest in more recognizable patterns like the assertion of power, intimidation techniques, intruding on colleagues’ privacy, making offensive remarks, or belittling others’ opinions, to name a few, remote bullying might be a more delicate issue.  

Diana Blažaitienė, a remote work expert and Founder of  Soprana Personnel International, which is a recruitment and personnel rent solutions agency, commented: “One of the crucial aspects of remote bullying is that everyone in the team may be an online bully, it is not limited to higher-ranking colleagues. That is why organizations should create processes that would help everyone in the team – both the potential bully and the victim – to identify certain toxic behaviors in professional setting.”  

Staving off remote bullying behaviors 

The expert lists certain red flags that hint at remote bullying—exclusion from virtual conversations or activities, constantly increasing workload, and creating a hostile cyber environment through emails and remote work platforms. 

“The signs of remote bullying are not always clean-cut and can gradually worsen up to a point when a remote worker feels their work motivation and efficiency are significantly impaired. Setting up boundaries is one of the most essential moments in breaking off remote bullying behaviors,” Ms. Blažaitienė added. 

For employers, she suggests establishing clear policies on remote work practices and expectations for employees to prevent unwarranted behavior. Promoting honest and open conversations within the remote teams and implementing regular virtual check-ins also allows staff to nurture trust in the employer. Encouraging remote staff to report any cases of virtual bullying and together navigating how to best respond in such cases ensures the employee that the employer has their back. 

“Besides more strict measures like creating anti-bullying guidelines and procedures, team leaders can take more interpersonal approaches like team building activities that prompt deeper connection and understanding between remote staff members,” the remote work expert maintained.  

That said, remote workers should check their workplace behavior to create a bullying-free environment. Ms. Blažaitienė suggests always displaying professional conduct towards other colleagues, communicating and delegating tasks with respect, refraining from gossiping or spreading rumors, participating in meetings, exchanging information and resources with all team members, and using professional development and growth opportunities to minimize the outbursts of remote bullying. 

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81% are hosting a Christmas party this year

A recent study by Just Eat for Business has revealed that 1 in 3 businesses will not be providing staff with an end of year bonus this year. 

The Corporate Christmas Rewards Study asked key decision makers, such as CEOs and business managers at companies across the UK how they will be rewarding staff during the festive period. 

The findings show that the majority of businesses base the decision on whether or not to give staff a monetary-based Christmas bonus is based on meeting sales targets (31%), company profit (30%) and whether or not employees have met their personal goals (29%). 

However, the majority of businesses (81%) are choosing to give back to staff by hosting a Christmas party this year. Almost half (48%) said that this year’s Christmas party event will be bigger and better when compared to such events that took place pre-pandemic.

The study also found that 7% of UK-based businesses have decided not to host a Christmas party of any kind this year, and the remaining 12% have not yet decided if they will do so or not. 

For organisations that have chosen not to host a party, main reasons include; budget issues (57%), a lack of organisation (14%), as well as having a remote workforce (14%). 

When it comes to additional festive incentives and activities, other ways in which employers are planning to give back to staff this year include organising a secret santa (34%), funding a Christmas lunch (34%) and providing corporate gifts (27%).

The survey also shows that 1 in 5 businesses (20%) will be providing office catering as an end-of-year incentive, yet 41% of key decision makers at businesses admit they could be doing more to incentive staff all year round. 

Rosie Hyam, People Partner, at Just Eat for Business commented: “Rewarding employees is key to a good working atmosphere and ensuring that staff members feel appreciated. Giving back can also have a huge impact on staff morale and retention, especially going into the new year. 

“As many businesses have a higher number of remote workers than ever before, it’s now even more vital that businesses are doing all they can to try and make staff members feel appreciated. 

“Yet this can be easier said than done, especially considering that many businesses state the main reason for not incentivising staff this year is due to budget issues.

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8% of women admitted having experienced sexual harassment at work

A workplace survey recently published by CareerWallet has revealed that 1 in 4 women (24%) are still experiencing inappropriate comments in the workplace or remotely via zoom and email from managers and colleagues. Only 10% of men said they have issues with similar comments meaning more than double the number of women are subjected to this. However, the survey showed that nearly twice as many men (10%) as women (6%) are experiencing homophobic behaviour and comments from colleagues or managers. According to the survey results, these toxic behaviours aren’t just happening in the office with many hybrid workers admitting to receiving comments on zoom calls or over email.

Survey results showed that nearly 1 in 10 women (8%) surveyed admitted having experienced sexual harassment at work and 28% of all women surveyed said they have experienced bullying from colleagues or direct line managers.

The extensive workplace survey gives a stark warning to employers across the UK as millions of workers are not only unhappy in their current roles but even worse are being subjected to aggressive, sexist and homophobic behaviour often from line managers. As firms struggle to recruit and keep the best talent due to mass skill shortages across so many sectors, it is essential employers offer positive and healthy environments for their staff to maximise staff retention rates.

Craig Bines, CEO at The CareerWallet Group, commented, “Our new workplace survey highlights how many employees are not only unhappy in their workplace but also being subjected to extremely toxic behaviour from line managers and colleagues.

It is hugely upsetting to hear so many women being subjected to inappropriate and sexist comments from colleagues and managers, especially in the modern workplace.  It is clear that many employers across the UK need to address their work environments and also consider how staff are being impacted through hybrid working.”

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A third of UK workers indicating that they don’t enjoy their current job

New research by Reed.co.uk, has found that 25% of UK workers are considering leaving their current job within the next 12 months, citing job dissatisfaction as the main reason while a further 18% of UK workers are undecided on whether they want to leave or not.

The research revealed that despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, “I don’t enjoy my current job” ranked as the main reason (30%) why workers are looking for a new job, exceeding the desire for an ‘increased salary’ (29%), followed by a dislike of the current workplace culture (19%).

With almost a third of UK workers indicating that they don’t enjoy their current job, the root causes of this sense of job dissatisfaction amongst workers range from low salaries (50%), toxic workplace culture (44%), poor management (39%), a sense of not being valued (34%), and a lack of career progression opportunities (16%).

According to the data, middle-aged workers – those aged 35-44- and 45–54-year-olds – are those who desire to move jobs in search of more satisfying work ranked highest – 33% and 34% respectively, compared to an average of 25% amongst other age groups, with 18-34-year-olds are almost twice as likely to actually act on this job dissatisfaction by considering a job move than older workers (32% compared to 17% of 55-64-year-olds).

For employers keen to retain staff, a salary increase (50%), flexible hours (24%) and more perks and benefits (24%) rank as the factors most likely to make workers stay.

The benefits most valued by workers include flexible working hours (62%), remote working options (36%), mental health support (34%) and career development programmes (32%). In fact, 45% of workers stated that they either only apply for jobs that list flexible or remote working or are more likely to apply for such roles. However, ‘Boomers’ are far less concerned about flexibility with only 6% reporting they’re looking for more flexibility in a new role, compared to 22% of ‘Millennials’.

James Reed, Chairman of Reed.co.uk, said: “Among the many long-lasting impacts of COVID-19 on the UK economy is the increasing demand amongst workers for employment that provides more meaningful, enjoyable and satisfying experiences. The record levels of job vacancies on offer across all sectors and regions have empowered workers to prioritise a sense of job satisfaction and, in turn, to more actively critique their current employer’s inability to meet their needs.”

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Employees ten times more likely to leave due to toxicity than compensation

With record numbers of resignations in the UK in 2021, new research has found that toxic workplace culture is the most significant reason employees leave their roles.

MIT Sloan Management Review analysed over 1.4 million anonymous employee reviews on the careers website Glassdoor to understand why people left their jobs. According to the research, employees in the US were ten times more likely to leave due to toxicity as opposed to compensation.

The research found that toxic work culture was described as:

  • Non-inclusive
  • Disrespectful
  • Unethical
  • Cut-throat
  • Abusive

According to Glassdoor, a toxic workplace is described as a hostile culture where the offence and intimidation of employees is almost normalised. This hostile environment negatively impacts employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction throughout the business and, ultimately, the company’s bottom line.

Glassdoor provides the following suggestions for employees dealing with a toxic work culture:

  • To not stoop to low levels of behaviour – employees should focus on neutrality and completing their work responsibilities.
  • Connect with colleagues who share similar feelings for support while avoiding gossip.
  • Not to allow stress at work to overtake their home life.
  • Protect mental health by taking time outside of work to focus on wellbeing.
  • Create an escape plan for removing themselves from toxic work situations responsibly.
  • Analyse what they don’t like about the role to ensure they do not find themselves in the same situation in their next role.
  • Read reviews of any potential companies to find out what it’s like to work there.

Glassdoor economist, Lauren Thomas, commented: “If 2021 was the Year of Quits for employees, 2022 needs to be the Year of Hires for companies. To do this, employers need to understand why workers are leaving. Toxic workplace culture is a major factor in the record number of resignations – but job seekers are also enjoying more choices than ever when it comes to selecting their next role. Putting employee engagement at the heart of the business is vital to retain staff and maximise productivity.”

With the market still seeing high levels of staff turnover coupled with the lack of skills, employers’ focus should turn to talent retention and internal mobility in order to prevent employees leaving.

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