Is your company culture undermining employee productivity?
No wonder employers are having so much trouble filling empty positions—employees are burning out, and they think their bosses don’t care.
That’s according to “Engaging Opportunity: Working Your Way,” a global survey conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated, which finds that employers are making life harder, not easier, for their workers through “antiquated attitudes” about time off, productivity and workloads.
“Many organizations offer innovative benefits and modern workspaces, but our research shows that common processes and policies, especially around individual workload and time off, are a challenge to navigate and end up negatively impacting the overall employee experience,” says Joyce Maroney, executive director for The Workforce Institute at Kronos.
The survey reveals that 47 percent of employees have been turned down by their bosses within the last year when asking for time off. Among that group, not only were 26 percent denied on a vacation request, 22 percent weren’t allowed to use personal time and 16 percent were turned down on sick time—but 10 percent say their employer actually rejected a bereavement request. Way to go, Simon Legree!
Maroney suggests employers take a good look at their frontline managers and processes in place for handling time-off requests, as well as enlist the help of AI tools and other technology that can make the process easier.
In the U.S.—and this particular statistic should make people sit up and take notice—21 percent of public safety employees have had a sick day request rejected. How safe does that make you feel? After that comes retail associates, 18 percent of whom have been turned down. .
When it comes to vacation time, 23 percent of manufacturing employees and 17 percent of health care employees get denied in what is definitely no rest for the weary.
And who gets blamed when employees are turned down? Their managers—which does not make for a smoothly running workplace; 45 percent of workers globally say their managers are figuratively chaining them to their desks, while in some countries managers are even more of a target: Mexico, for instance, where 49 percent of workers blame them for the denials; Australia and New Zealand, where it’s 48 percent; Germany, where it’s 46 percent and Canada, where it’s also 46 percent.
In Canada, the U.K., and U.S., apparently people are so used to being turned down that 11 percent of survey respondents say they haven’t even asked for any time off within the last year.
Do employees think their bosses even care about burnout? Not really, with just 41 percent saying preventing burnout is a top priority for their organization and 31 percent globally saying they believe their manager doesn’t care if they burn out (in the U.S., that’s 27 percent). But it’s worse among older U.S. millennials (36 percent), as well as public safety (42 percent), logistics and transportation (35 percent) and retail employees (30 percent), who feel most strongly that their managers do not care if they burn out.
In fact, 29 percent surveyed say they’re already close to burnout and need their workload to change. It’s even worse in France (42 percent) and Mexico (40 percent).
“This global survey demonstrates that employees want their employers to focus on getting the basics right,” says Ian Parkes, director of Coleman Parkes Research, which conducted the study on behalf of Kronos. “Organizations will only achieve high engagement levels if they recognize employees have responsibilities and obligations outside of work. Modern solutions that empower employees to take control of their schedules, such as chatbots that review and approve time-off requests in real-time, will play a vital role in closing this gap.”
It’s possibly because it’s so tough to get sick time in the first place that 72 percent of employees say they try not to take sick days—and 29 percent of survey respondents also say they’re expected to be at work even when they are ill—with 25 percent saying they’re obliged to show up to work when they’re sick so their manager can gauge how sick they are.
And if they’re not getting sick pay, they’re also not getting a chance to rest and get better. In Mexico, 45 percent of employees, and in France, 43 percent, say they work when they’re sick because otherwise they don’t get paid. This is also true for 34 percent of U.K. employees, as well as 27 percent in Canada, 27 percent in Australia/New Zealand and 22 percent in the U.S. In Germany, it’s 19 percent.