“Unclear job expectations” cause American workers a lot of on-the-job stress, according to a recent survey from professional services and consulting firm Towers Watson. The study polled 5,000 workers at companies with more than 1,000 employees and found the following five factors cause the most stress overall:
- Inadequate staffing
- Low pay/pay increases
- Unclear job expectations
- Organizational culture, including lack of teamwork, tendency to avoid accountability and assign blame to others
- Lack of work/life balance (Excessive workloads and/or long hours)
Interestingly, when the researchers surveyed the workers’ employers, they found a gap between what the managers thought was causing their employees stress and what actually was. Employers incorrectly believed lack of work/life balance to be the top stressor, when that factor actually came in fifth. They also thought expanded technology (such as smartphones, wireless internet, etc.) and the attendant expectation that employees be accessible outside of normal work hours was a top stress trigger, but it didn’t even make the top five.
As an employer, misunderstanding what is causing your employees’ stress can cause you to waste time, money and energy fixing problems your team perceives as relatively insignificant. On the other hand, accurately identifying top stressors allows you to resolve issues efficiently to improve morale and decrease employee turnover.
Investing in employee training programs for your team can address several, if not all, of the above stressors by helping to set expectations, improve overall efficiency and clarify your organization’s culture and values. Training also tends to improve accountability and teamwork, since everyone has a clearer idea of their responsibilities and is able to take ownership of specific tasks. Browse Mastery Technologies’ wide variety of online training programs to help decrease your employees’ stress levels and improve their job performance.