Employees Set High Bar: Workplace Safety, Transparent Communication, and Contact Tracing Non-negotiable, find Kronos Surveys

LOWELL, Mass.--()--Organizational safety is paramount amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and transparent communication plays a critical role: A recent survey from Kronos Incorporated conducted by The Harris Poll finds nearly 9 in 10 U.S. employees (86%) believe their employer has an “obligation” to notify employees who may have been in contact with a co-worker who tested positive for COVID-19 — a sentiment shared by a majority of U.S. employees currently going into work (89%) and working from home due to the pandemic (86%).

Two separate Kronos surveys — one, a survey of 1,226 employed U.S. adults conducted online by The Harris Poll, and the other, a global survey of 3,903 employees across 10 countries conducted by Workplace Intelligence — help to debunk a misconception around COVID-19 contact tracing, which suggests employee privacy concerns outweigh safety concerns. In fact, the vast majority of employees surveyed globally by Workplace Intelligence (86%) are comfortable to varying degrees with employer-led contact tracing, which may be the key to setting a risk-adverse workforce at ease.

News Facts

  • As U.S. organizations increasingly ask their people to return to work, employee concerns must be addressed.
    • Nearly 9 in 10 U.S. employees (88%) currently working from home due to COVID-19 would not want to risk returning to their workplace if there were rising cases of COVID-19 in their region, which could have an impact on employers’ reopening plans. (Source: Kronos and The Harris Poll)
    • Additionally, 66% of U.S. employees going into work right now feel the same way: 2 in 3 would not want to risk going into their physical workplace any longer if there were rising cases of COVID-19 in their region. (Source: Kronos and The Harris Poll)
  • In workplaces around the world, expectations from the workforce are high for employers to create environments that are as safe as possible.
    • Globally, 3 in 4 employees (75%) say they trust their employer to create a physically safe and healthy work environment. Employees in North America (Canada: 80%; Mexico: 80%; U.S.: 76%) are more trusting than in Europe (U.K.: 74%; Germany: 67%; France: 63%; the Netherlands: 63%), as are full-time employees (77%) compared to part-time employees (68%) worldwide. (Source: Kronos and Workplace Intelligence)
    • That trust extends to contact tracing at work: 86% of employees worldwide are at least “a little” comfortable with contact tracing led by their employer for the purpose of organizational safety. In fact, nearly half (45%) are “very” or “a great deal” comfortable, while just 29% and 12% are either “somewhat” or “a little” comfortable, respectively, with employer-led contact tracing. (Source: Kronos and Workplace Intelligence)
  • With few opposed to the concept of contact tracing at work, the question for employers is not “should we,” but “how should we approach contact tracing?”
    • In order to safeguard organizational safety, around half of employees (48% globally; 50% in the U.S.) say they are “very” or “a great deal” comfortable with a workforce management approach to contact tracing, i.e., allowing their employer to use their work schedule records to identify and manage employees who have been exposed to the virus at work and to help prevent onward transmission. (Source: Kronos and Workplace Intelligence)
    • Employees are equally accepting of employer-led contact tracing using access control/workplace movement records (48% globally; 51% in the U.S.), while 2 in 5 employees (39% globally; 40% in the U.S.) are “very” or “a great deal” comfortable allowing their employer to leverage their mobile device for contact tracing purposes. (Source: Kronos and Workplace Intelligence)
    • Generation Z and Younger Millennials1 worldwide consistently report greater comfortability with various forms of contact tracing than do their generational counterparts (49% and 48%, respectively, are at least “very” comfortable), as do employees based in India (66% are at least “very” comfortable) compared to other countries surveyed. Finally, only 14% of employees worldwide are “not at all” comfortable with contact tracing at work. (Source: Kronos and Workplace Intelligence)

Supporting Quotes

  • Gregg Gordon, vice president, industry, Kronos

“Employees have demonstrated that they do have safety concerns in the workplace, but generally trust their employer to take care of them. This should signal to employers that they have a responsibility to step up and employ all methods necessary to protect workers physically and mentally during COVID-19, regardless of whether employees have worked all through the pandemic, have recently come back to the workplace, or won’t be brought back for another few months. As the data shows, employer-driven methods of contact tracing are not unwanted among the workforce, though education and transparent communication cannot be overlooked when introducing new policies or protocols related to organizational safety.”

Supporting Resources

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. Kronos merged with Ultimate Software on April 1, 2020, to create one of the world’s most innovative HCM and workforce management companies. Visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.

About Ultimate Software

Ultimate Software is a leading global provider of cloud human capital management (HCM) and employee experience solutions, with more than 51 million people records in the cloud. Ultimate’s award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, talent, and time and labor management, as well as HR service delivery solutions. Founded in 1990, Ultimate is headquartered in Weston, Florida, and employs more than 6,000 professionals. To learn more, visit www.ultimatesoftware.com. Ultimate Software: People First.

Survey Methodology: The Harris Poll

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Kronos from July 14-16, 2020 among 2,069 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,226 are employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact tonya.eckert@kronos.com.

Survey Methodology: Workplace Intelligence

Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Savanta, Inc. across the US between June 22 – June 30, 2020. For this survey, 3,903 domestic and international respondents were asked general questions to explore leadership and employee attitudes around trust in the workplace, digital transformation and crisis response/management. The study targeted people between the ages of 18+ and 55 years old. Respondents are recruited through a number of different mechanisms, via different sources to join the panels and participate in market research surveys. All panellists have passed a double opt-in process and complete on average 300 profiling data points prior to taking part in surveys. Respondents are invited to take part via email and are provided with a small monetary incentive for doing so. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 1.6 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

Footnote 1: Generations are defined as follows: Generation Z, 18-20; Younger Millennials, 21-27; Older Millennials, 28-37; Gen X, 38-54; Baby Boomers, 55+.

© 2020 Kronos Incorporated and Ultimate Software. All rights reserved. Kronos and the Kronos logo are registered trademarks and Workforce Innovation That Works is a trademark of Kronos Incorporated or a related company. See a complete list of Kronos trademarks. UltiPro is a registered trademark of The Ultimate Software Group, Inc. All other trademarks, if any, are property of their respective owners.


Alexa Micklovich
Kronos Incorporated
+1 978.947.4135

Release Summary

Kronos surveys reveal majority of employees are comfortable with employer-led contact tracing and feel employers must commit to workplace safety.


Alexa Micklovich
Kronos Incorporated
+1 978.947.4135