The Government's 2012 Skills and Employment Survey is out today and states that British employees are feeling more insecure and stressed out at work than at any time in the last twenty years. That's worrying, but not entirely surprising.
The CIPD has responded to this by putting the responsibility for reversing this trend firmly at the door of businesses. Whilst there is clearly a role for employers to work on engagement, wellbeing and motivation of their people, we must not ignore the external social and economic pressures on workers.
With a reduction in support those on low incomes receive and the increased pressures on all workers with a continuing gloomy economic outlook, instability, uncertainty and anxiety continue to take a toll on us all.
The findings are disappointing, given the Government's 'Engage For Success' initiative and drive to increase employee engagement. Perhaps this shows that Governments are precisely the people who should butt out of this area and leave it to employers and employees to thrash out the details.
Employers can help the situation certainly. Workplace initiatives suited to a business' unique position can help the flow of communication and build positivity and a sense of shared purpose. Developing a more open, positive culture where information is shared and rumours quashed has an incredible impact, but reducing the pressure employees feel at work is only part of the story; until we see an improvement in the position outside the four walls of our workplaces, people will continue to feel anxious, inhibited and cautious. This stifles creativity and has an effect on work performance- unless work is a place where they feel valued and have clarity on what they can do rather than what restrictions they face.
Employers can't fix this overnight, but they should start trying to make a difference.
After all, not being able to do everything is no excuse not to do anything.