|Few Employers Addressing
Workplace Stress, Watson Wyatt Surveys Find
While employers acknowledge that stress is
affecting business performance, few are taking steps to address it,
according to two surveys by Watson Wyatt Worldwide.
Workplace stress is the most frequently cited
reason U.S. employees consider leaving their jobs, according to Watson
Nearly half of U.S. employers (48 percent) say
stress caused by working long hours is affecting business performance.
However, only 5 percent are addressing this concern, according to
Watson Wyatt’s 2007/2008 Staying@Work report. Similarly, more
than one-quarter (29 percent) of employers believe stress caused by
widespread use of technology, such as cell phones and personal digital
assistants, is greatly affecting business performance, but only 6
percent are taking action to confront the issue.
"Many companies don’t appear to
appreciate how stress is affecting their business," said Shelly Wolff,
national practice director of health and productivity at Watson Wyatt.
"Too much stress from heavy demands, poorly defined priorities and
little on-the-job flexibility can add to health issues. By leaving
stress unaddressed, employers invite an increase in unscheduled time
off, absence rates and healthcare costs – all of which hurt a
company’s bottom line."
One way stress is influencing business performance
is through employee retention. Stress is the most frequently cited
reason U.S. workers give for why they would leave a company. Forty
percent of respondents say it is one of their top three reasons,
according to Watson Wyatt’s 2007/2008 Global Strategic
However, employers fail to list stress among the
top five most cited reasons they think workers leave their jobs.
Instead, they cite insufficient pay, lack of career development and
poor supervisor relationships.
"Pay alone is not enough to retain and engage
today’s workers," said Laura Sejen, global director of
strategic rewards at Watson Wyatt. "To remain competitive, companies
need to understand fully what causes employees to join or leave and
what causes them to be productive if they stay. A total rewards
approach that includes both monetary and nonmonetary rewards is more
meaningful for employees and more effective for employers."
Address: Watson Wyatt, 901 North Glebe Rd.,
Arlington, VA 22203; (703) 258-8000, www.watsonwyatt.com.