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Survey: 45% of worker stress is due to job instability

Written on Aug 4, 2023

Besides identifying what employees are thinking about in both the short and long term, finding the root cause of their stress-inducers may help create a more positive work environment. With nearly half (45%) of employee stress coming from a lack of job security, according to a new survey of 2,500 business professionals from recruitment firm Robert Walters, leaders who wish to showcase their desire to retain talented employees may be best off doing it now. 

Employee stress can lead to things like quiet trends, loss of productivity, or work ethic. According to data, other than job instability, 23% of those surveyed cited pressure from management as their top stress trigger, followed by 13% saying an increased workload is the cause of stress. 

Many professionals think senior leadership has a responsibility to reduce worker stress. Nearly half (45%) of those surveyed said it was up to senior leadership and their HR departments to manage stress in the workforce. Just under a fifth (19%) said it was the responsibility of middle management or line managers to do so. 

Regardless of whose responsibility it is to manage company stress levels, a majority of the professionals surveyed believed their companies are failing at it. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed don’t think employers are doing enough to help combat stress. Less than a quarter (24%) said they feel some effort has been made, but it has been insufficient. Only 14% of those surveyed said their employers do enough to manage employee stress. 

According to researchers, the money many companies allocate toward mental health benefits is not enough and these allocations are only a temporary fix for a larger issue. “U.S. employers spend an estimated $200 to $500 per employee on wellness initiatives and benefits every year, but our survey indicates they may only be applying a Band-Aid,” they wrote. “Employers must strike a balance between not breaking the bank or piling pressure onto managers to solve workplace stress but still being proactive and listening to the needs of their employees.” 

The most valuable mental health benefits and how they are offered and used are still unclear. As findings have previously shown, these types of benefits largely go unused.  

With nearly one in five employees citing their output is of low quality because of their stress, according to data, the survey report recommends an environment in which transparency in workflow and expectations is paramount. 

“Workplace stress is something everyone in a business has a hand in creating; however, it is down to senior leaders, HR, and line management, depending on organization size and reporting lines, to set the tone for how it is handled,” the researchers wrote. “Simple interventions such as making sure workloads are manageable, setting realistic deadlines, and making sure employees have access to support, safe spaces, and relevant resources can all help to alleviate pressure in the workplace as well as professionals’ day-to-day work.” 

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