Data Drop: What Employees Want and the Truth About Ageism


There’s more data floating around the human resources realm than ever and nowhere is that more evident than my inbox. Each week, I receive a handful of surveys straight from vendors and researchers alike who want to share the work they’ve done.

Employee surveys are becoming more common and as a result, HR is getting an ever clearer idea of just what it is that their people want and what they’re experiencing. In today’s data drop, we’re going to take a closer look at the results of some of these surveys to provide more context and hopefully, a bit of valuable insight into what matters most in HR; people.

Employee Wellbeing

According to Metlife’s annual Benefits Trends Study, 40% of employees say they are not offered benefits that will help them maintain their health in a holistic way. Employee wellbeing has been shown to have a significant impact on engagement and productivity, leaving HR with no shortage of motivation to address these issues.

The study looked at the impact the pandemic is having on work-life balances, noting that there have been sharp increases in stress levels among employees since the start of the crisis. The report highly recommends the setting of formal boundaries between work and personal life as fears that work is set to overtake people’s personal lives are abound.

Additionally, it focuses on enhancing programs aimed at employee emotional and financial wellness. The report outlines how companies who are investing in new approaches to wellness are benefiting from increased engagement and reduced burnout and stress, while also taking a deeper look at what a holistic wellness program entails.

READ: Workforce Surveys Reveal Effects of Pandemic

Parents Need Help

It takes a village to raise a child they say, but right now, parents are feeling pretty alone. A recent poll from Monster that included more than 2,000 respondents indicated that 27% of working parents say that they don’t feel their employers are supporting them as kids go back to school, oftentimes in virtual environments that require parent oversight.

For those with a choice, roughly two-thirds are experiencing significant stress as they weigh up whether or not to allow their kids to return to school. Around 75% of respondents say that increased flexibility around their work schedule would represent a vital form of support from their employers.

Employees Want More Interaction with Employers

A report from Zenefits examined how employees of small businesses are feeling during the pandemic in terms of isolation. While the overwhelming majority of respondents were engaged in their work and proud of their employers, what the data revealed was that 23% reported feeling isolated or lonely. The main reasons were physical isolation, lack of socializing among employees and a company culture that doesn’t foster collaboration.

What they feel would help, is greater effort spent on performance management. Of those surveyed, 92% say they know what is needed for them to meet their goals, but 27% say the company doesn’t track their performance. Enhanced performance management increases their connectivity to other personnel and company goals by providing feedback and facilitating a greater amount of dialogue with supervisors.

Ageism in the Workplace

One of the most common phrases used on social media last year highlighted the generational divide like no other; “Ok Boomer.” What came out of the discussions in which it was heavily used was widely based on stereotypes of older generations in their final years of participating in the workforce. The folks over at ResumeLab decided to conduct a literature review and interviewed more than 900 adults to see if any of these stereotypes have validity.

The five stereotypes were:

  • More resistant to change (False)
  • Not as healthy as younger workers (False)
  • Less interested in training or development (True)
  • Look down on younger colleagues (Somewhat true)
  • More expensive to hire and retain (True)

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