LOWELL, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With an increasing number of weather emergencies and natural disasters in the U.S.1, a new survey from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated finds employees have clear expectations for how organizations can create a culture of caring in times of such crises.
“Weathering the Storm,” a survey commissioned by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and conducted online by The Harris Poll2, surveyed employees and employers – specifically people managers, human resources leaders, and executives – to help organizations understand and prepare for employees’ changing expectations during extreme weather events.
To prepare for the worst, employees want more communication and clearer expectations.
- Overall, 73% of employees and 88% of employers believe their organization takes disaster preparedness seriously.
- However, fewer than half (45%) of employees say their employer has communicated in the last 12 months generally what would happen at the workplace if a weather emergency or natural disaster occurred. This reflects employer actions: In the past 12 months, more than a third (35%) of employers admit they have not taken measures to share with their workforce how their organization is prepared for a disaster.
- On average, employees expect communication about three-and-a-half days before a pending weather emergency, and more than a third (36%) expect a minimum of 24 hours’ notice.
- Once it’s apparent a work location may be affected by a natural disaster, nearly half (49%) of employees think their employer should demonstrate their commitment to employee safety by communicating clear expectations about schedules.
People managers aren’t empowered to make decisions to help care for employees.
- Three-quarters (75%) of employees feel their manager is empowered to make decisions that affect them in the event of a natural disaster or extreme weather, but that may not be the case: Less than half (49%) of employers say people managers are permitted to decide when and how to respond when disaster strikes without waiting for approval from leadership.
- In fact, in a weather emergency or natural disaster, a third (33%) of people managers say that, at their own company, people managers are not authorized to communicate business updates to employees, while 1 in 10 (10%) says they are also not allowed to decide when and how to respond, close a facility, tell employees to go home, tell employees to stay home or re-route them to a different location, or ask people to come back to work after a disaster.
Caring is more than a buzzword for employees when faced with a disaster or emergency.
Employees’ concerns during a weather emergency or natural disaster revolve around workplace presence and implications of dependability, including:
- Ability to commute to or from work (58%);
- Finding someone to cover for them if they’re unable to make it to work (40%);
- Securing child, family, or pet care while at work (39%);
- Being late to work (39%); and
- Perceived unreliability if they have to miss work (38%).
- About a quarter of employees do not feel their employer (27%) or manager (23%) cares about them, and more than a quarter (29%) are concerned about employer retaliation – such as receiving reduced shifts or having less opportunities for a promotion – if they have to miss work due to a natural disaster or extreme weather event.
- About a third (35%) of employees are concerned about feeling burned out at work during a crisis due to personal responsibilities or working overtime, but just 9% of employers view burnout or fatigue as one of their top three workplace concerns during a disaster or extreme weather.
- Employees’ concerns during a weather emergency or natural disaster revolve around workplace presence and implications of dependability, including:
Organizations want to help in a crisis but need to do more to support employee wellbeing.
- While nearly a third (30%) of employers say their organizations would offer paid time off for employees unable to return to work due to a natural disaster or extreme weather, just 40% would allow employees to work from home or decline to work a scheduled shift without recourse.
- For employees who must be present to do their jobs during a weather emergency or natural disaster, nearly a third (32%) of employers say their organization would offer free meals to staff, more than a quarter (28%) would provide accommodations near the office for employees, and 11% would provide childcare or family care financial assistance.
- In the event of a natural disaster or extreme weather, 39% of employers say their organization would offer unpaid time off for those who need it; 38% would offer food, shelter, and support services to impacted employees and their families; and 32% would allow employees to donate paid time off to coworkers in need.
Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
“While many organizations seem to have their heart in the right place, it’s clear that more work is needed to create and communicate a culture of trust, safety, and caring around natural disasters and extreme weather emergencies. Such events disrupt not only the business, but also the lives of employees and their families. This is especially true for employees in essential services that must remain open, like first responders, hospitals, and even hotels that shelter those in need. By considering the changing expectations of the workforce – and empowering managers to make the right call in a time of crisis – everyone will feel prepared to weather the storm safely, together.”
Sharlyn Lauby, president, ITM group; blogger, HRBartender.com; advisory board member, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
“Living in Florida and working in the hospitality industry for many years, I’ve always marveled at how extreme weather events bring out the best in communities. Still, many organizations continue to struggle with balancing the needs of the business with the safety and well-being of their employees. Organizations that proactively meet the needs of their employees are often able to resume normal operations sooner because everyone – from senior leadership to the frontline workforce – recognizes the importance of safety and preparation.”
- Note to Editors: please refer to this survey as “The Weathering the Storm Report by The Workforce Institute at Kronos and The Harris Poll.”
- Download the report, “Weathering the Storm,” which includes practical tips to help business leaders, HR professionals, and people managers navigate extreme weather and natural disasters.
- Read the fourth anthology from The Workforce Institute at Kronos titled, “Being Present: A Practical Guide for Transforming the Employee Experience of Your Frontline Workforce.”
- Kronos CEO Aron Ain shares how to transform employee engagement into a growth strategy in his book, “WorkInspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work.”
- Subscribe to The Workforce Institute at Kronos for insight, research, blogs, and podcasts on how organizations can manage today’s modern frontline workforce to drive engagement and performance.
- Connect with Kronos via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
About Kronos Incorporated
Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.
Footnote 1: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were 14 extreme weather events which cost $1 billion or more in both 2018 and 2019, tied for 4th all-time. For more information, visit: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/
Footnote 2: Survey Methodologies:
Employee survey: This survey was conducted online in the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated from April 8-15, 2019 among 336 respondents meeting each of the following criteria: aged 18 or older, employed full-time or part-time, not employed in an education industry, employed with a company with 15 or more employees, who does not work remotely. Results are weighted on age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income to align with the actual proportion of the population under study. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in The Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the online panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
Employer survey: This survey was conducted online in the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated from April 8-15, 2019 among 326 respondents. Respondents represented their employers and may have qualified in one of two capacities: (1) ‘HR Leader, V.P., or C-Suite’ (required to work full-time or part-time; not employed in an education industry; employed with a company with 15 or more employees; and either works in HR as either a manager, director or V.P., or operates in a V.P. or C-Suite capacity) or (2) ‘People Manager’ (required to work full-time or part-time; not employed in an education industry; employed with a company with 15 or more employees; does not work in HR; and manages at least three direct reports). Results are weighted based on the size of the employer to align with the distribution of company size in the US (excluding businesses with fewer than 15 employees). Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in The Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the online panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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