Employers and Employees Disagree on Top Sources of Workplace Stress

July 11, 2016

New data from a recent Willis Towers Watson survey of U.S. employers showed that 75% ranked stress as their number one employee health and productivity concern. However, a comparison of the views of employers and employees based on the employer survey and a concurrent survey of U.S. employees revealed a significant disconnect on what the two groups consider to be the top causes of workplace stress.

These findings are from the Willis Towers Watson’s 2015/2016 Global Staying@Work Survey of 487 U.S. employers and the Willis Towers Watson’s 2015/2016 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey of more than 5,000 employees.

When asked to identify the primary sources of stress in the workplace, employers and employees overlapped in just one of their three top choices, “inadequate staffing.” Employees consistently identified issues related to their personal workplace experience, such as low pay. In contrast, employers focused more on larger organizational and change management issues.

According to Steve Nyce, senior economist at Willis Towers Watson, these differences are an obstacle to employers interested in reducing workplace stress. “To address workplace stress, employers first need to understand its root cause from their employees’ point of view,” said Nyce. “Those who base their efforts on misguided assumptions risk trying to solve the wrong problems, and could end up wasting money and alienating employees. A good place for employers to start is by asking employees directly what’s causing their stress and how they can help.”

To read the press release from Willis Towers Watson, click here.

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