A recent article by HR Grapevine reported the top 15 workplace worries and that got us thinking about ways employers can encourage an open work culture or create a space for employees to voice their concerns and worries. Concerns amongst workers is increasing which is no surprise given what’s been happening over the last 18 months - In fact, Close Brothers’ Expecting the unexpected: a spotlight on preparing for a crisis report found that 51% of employees have experienced an increase in worries relating to their mental health due to the pandemic.
So what are the biggest concerns amongst workers right now?
How to appropriately negotiate higher pay was ranked as the biggest workplace worry with 19,050 global Google searches per month. The second highest were questions over how to use the social networking site LinkedIn with 9,000 searches per month. 'How to call in sick' was the third biggest concern with an average of 5,850 monthly global Google searches.
The Knowledge Academy utilised an SEO toolset resource - to find out the monthly global Google searches for common workplace fears. I will include the full list of 15 below but it is no real surprise that many are current HR issues and concerns amongst businesses.
But what can you do to help your employees understand and tackle some of these concerns?
1- Create an open environment
This isn’t something that can happen overnight. Company culture can take years to define. But the important thing is that you and your management team know the company and the culture you want to be steering. Remember that to achieve any kind of change in a team setting there needs to be communication, patience, time and achievable goals set.
Some ways to promote an open and trusted work environment include – celebrate one another successes, reinforce the importance and value of confidentiality between you and your team both as a group and individually. Make space for equal and open discussions but make sure you set clear boundaries for yourself and the team.
2- Approachable management
Not all Managers should be Managers. That is a pretty rough statement but it’s true. Most people will have experienced or heard about a Manager that just doesn’t seem equipped to handle managing people. Now, that could be because they haven’t been given the correct tools or training to handle all aspects of a management role or they simply aren’t made for management. That isn’t a bad thing! But it is your responsibility as a Business Owner or a Manager to identify where you could improve. What training could help you become more approachable? What tools would help you communicate with your team? No one is perfect and it’s about having a growth mindset and wanting to improve for you and your people.
3- Transparent PDP’s and career goals
Employees need a format where they can discuss pay, career goals and areas for development and it’s your responsibility to give them that format. Most organisations have 1:1’s – but it’s vital that at least once a year there is a professional meeting where an employee’s personal development plan is brought to the table. This conversation provides a fantastic format to discuss pay, career progression, goals and performance. Your team needs to feel valued and listened to but it also allows you to see who is engaged, who wants to progress, it gives you an opportunity to think about succession planning and retention in your organisation.
5- Employee engagement project
Now this can seem like a scary one because a lot of organisations have gone through redundancies, long periods of furlough and just an all-round tough time because of COVID. That isn’t a reason to shy away from these kinds of projects, it’s actually a great time to embrace them. If it has been a challenging time, your employees will have some suggestions on how to make that better. Listen to them, give them a platform to let some of their frustrations and questions out. The most important thing about an employee engagement project is you have to be willing to make the changes needed to retain your people and create a better culture. Otherwise you are giving your team a voice that you just aren’t willing to listen to – and that I can guarantee will leave you with more disengaged people than you started with.
6 – Keep an eye on the market.
It will be no surprise to many that the current candidate market is short. Salary offers are on the rise, flexible working is widely being adapted, benefits packages are being reviewed and improved. All of which are efforts to retain and attract the best talent in the market. It’s vital that as hiring managers and business owners you are up to date with current pay trends, benefit packages offered in the market and how your organisation can work to keep the people that make your business what it is today.
The full list of workplace worries are below.
Asking for a raise
Calling in sick
Writing a resignation letter
Writing good emails
Being anxious and stressed