The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted surveys to “shed light on the perceived condition of workplace culture and its impact on working Americans. The respondents represented a cross section of “varied industries and occupations” and covered the time period from the commencement of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The highlights of the SHRM survey include the following:
Nearly 100% of all human resources professionals “agree that they encourage a culture of open and transparent communication.” About 72% of executives, vice president and higher in rank, report that “their overall organizational culture has improved since the beginning of the pandemic.” Only 21% of HR and 14% of Americans agreed with the executives’ assessment.
Most of the workers who responded were not so thrilled with the way things are going. Over 25% did not believe that managers encourage transparency. About 34% of Americans claimed that their managers don’t know how to lead a team and over 25% said that their company doesn’t provide leadership training, which would ameliorate the situation.
Disturbingly, over half of working Americans that left a job in the past five years, due to workplace culture, indicated that the main reason for the departure was because of their relationship with their manager. Only 22% stayed at a job because of their manager.
Working Americans complained that their company made it difficult to balance their workload and home commitments. Employees said they had to hold off on personal activities and responsibilities because of the pressing demands of work. Nearly 60% of people in the survey lamented that they “leave work feeling exhausted.” A third of the workers complained that the workplace culture made them feel “irritable at home.”
Many employees did not feel “engaged” with their work tasks and “dread going to work.” Remote workers reported feeling “isolated” or “disconnected” and worried that others thought they weren’t working “hard enough.”
Nearly half of all surveyed employees (44%) who worked remotely at least some of the time reported feeling isolated or disconnected; 43% indicated that they worry other people don’t think they are working hard enough while being remote. Women indicated more negative effects of poor workplace culture compared to men.
The Big Picture
The survey results indicate that positive organizational culture keeps employees engaged. However, unfortunately, more than half of the managers and HR professionals agreed that “it has been difficult to maintain that culture during the pandemic.”
This makes sense and is reasonable. The last nearly two years have been very difficult. Corporate leaders had to contend with the virus outbreak, transition people to remote work, ensure that the technologies were available to keep people connected and conduct business in a completely new environment.
It’s understandable that “HR professionals and other employees indicate issues with communication, altered workloads and employees voluntarily leaving their companies as primary reasons for negative changes in workplace culture during the pandemic.”
The President’s Perspective
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM’s CEO and president, said about the survey results, “In the past year, we saw major shifts in organizational structures as employers sought to accommodate and support employees who were suddenly working in remote, hybrid or vastly different in-person environments.” Taylor added, “The pandemic has certainly changed where and how we work, leaving it up to business leaders and HR professionals to create more seamless threads of positive culture that boost employee satisfaction and productivity.”
While the study focused on workplace culture, it’s not the only reason people leave. Other surveys conducted by SHRM cite lack of career growth opportunities, negative relationships with managers and salary concerns for reasons to quit.