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Two-thirds of employees hide aspects of their personality from employers

Posted: 3 Oct 2017

Are your workers keeping secrets from you? According to new research, the majority of UK employees are. However, before we jump to the conclusion of dishonesty, their reluctance to share certain aspects of themselves can have a good reason.

The research, which comes alongside this year's National Inclusion Week, ascertains that 60% of employees hide details about their personal life. Some 46% of respondents stated that they would not talk about whether they were having family troubles at home, while close to a third (31%) would not share details surrounding their mental health. Additionally, 20% of workers hide their sexual orientation.

Surprisingly, age was also found to be a key factor. In contrast to popular stereotypes about millennials, 67% are likely to keep things from their employers. Meanwhile, this figure stands at 55% for the over 55s.

The research further noted that when employees feel that they cannot discuss certain aspects of their personal lives, it leads to a breakdown in wider communication. More than a quarter of respondents said that it makes them feel "less connected" to their workplace and an additional 18% thought that it would have a detrimental impact on their performance.

Richard McKenna, director of Inclusive Employers, the workplace membership organisation that spearheaded the research as well as National Inclusion Week, explained that while society has made some headway when it comes to inclusivity, there is still significant mileage to go.

As such, McKenna believes it's both the responsibility and obligation of management to cultivate a work culture wherein staff feel that they can discuss topics like their mental health or sexuality without facing stigma.

He reiterates that this is an attitude that must be enforced at every level and imbued in every conversation, meeting and within boardroom culture. Managers must learn to handle information sensitively and respond empathetically if they want to get the most out of their staff.

Managers who encourage openness and understanding in their workspaces can expect to be rewarded with higher productivity, improved retention rates and a more appealing appearance to would-be recruits. Contact Stopgap today to learn more.

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