Despite accusations of ‘oversharing’ and the belief that everyone knows everything about everyone else in these enlightened, open-minded days, new research has discovered that most bosses do not know everything about their workers.
A recent survey by Inclusive Employers found that nearly two-thirds of employees in the UK keep something secret about themselves while in the workplace.
These secrets are most likely to be about family problems, with 46% of those asked saying they keep family issues from their employers.
Other secrets are centred around mental health, with 31% saying they have not told their employers about their mental health issues, and sexual orientation (20%).
Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of those surveyed who admitted to keeping secrets from their employers were in the younger generation. 67% were between 18 and 24, while 55% of respondents aged 55 or over said they kept secrets from their employers.
According to the survey, women are more likely to find opening up to employers more difficult than men. 34% of the females said they hide family issues from their bosses, compared with 28% of the men.
In addition to family and personal problems, employees are still finding it hard to talk to their employers about work issues. More than one-quarter – 28% – of the respondents said they found conversations about their salary awkward, for instance.
These figures prove that speaking to managers is still difficult for many people, despite the common belief that millennials find talking about personal issues easier than the older generations.
These difficulties in speaking out can prove problematic for employers and employees alike, having the potential to lead to stress, discrimination, underperformance and dissatisfaction.
If a worker feels they cannot talk to their boss about personal problems, perhaps because they fear the consequences, everyone will suffer.
It is therefore important that employers ensure their workers are fully aware that they can talk about any issues affecting them – both at home and in the workplace – without worrying about repercussions.
Having an open-door policy is beneficial to both managers and employees, engendering an atmosphere of openness and honesty that can only help to produce a happier workplace all round.
The survey was held to coincide with National Inclusion Week, which took place at the end of September with the theme Connect for Inclusion and the aim of encouraging employers to take steps to create more inclusive workplaces.
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