Increasing numbers of UK workers are suffering excessive pressure in their job as they work longer hours than ever – and the situation isn’t expected to change any time soon.
According to a survey of 1,606 companies across the world conducted by professional services firm Towers Watson
, a third acknowledged that employees were under excessive pressure, while 57% admitted that they had been working more hours than normal over the last three years.
A worrying 46% didn’t expect things to change over the next three, however.
But things appeared to be even worse elsewhere. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 47% of respondents reported that staff were suffering from high stress levels, while the figure jumped to 61% in the US.
Carole Hathaway, Tower Watson’s EMEA rewards leader, said: “At a time when organisations are under pressure to increase performance in difficult market conditions, inevitably additional pressure can fall on the workforce to up their game. But it’s important for companies to bear in mind the impact this can have on retention and engagement.”
But cracking the whip would only get employers so far. As a result, it was important to work on employee engagement strategies that encouraged discretionary effort and maintained motivation levels during periods of high pressure, she added.
As for performance management, three out of five employers believed that they had successfully established a link between salaries and individual performance, while just under three quarters said the same about bonuses.
But communicating these links appears to have been less successful – a mere 53% believed that their personnel understood the pay/performance connection.
According to a second survey of 32,000 employees entitled ‘Tower Watson’s Global Workforce Study’, a mere 34% of workers were actually aware that this was the case, however.
Staff confidence in managers was also lower in the UK than elsewhere, with only 45% of organisations believing that their managers were effective at setting individual performance goals compared with 52% in EMEA.
Other areas in which UK managers were given lower ratings than their European counterparts were in executing base pay programmes well, providing regular coaching and feedback, conducting career development discussions, explaining career opportunities, developing performance plans and building trust with employees.