Finding answers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 December, 2007, 12:00am

Survey finds stress is the main reason people leave their jobs

Watson Wyatt Worldwide's recent strategic rewards survey found that stress was one of the top reasons why employees around the world left their jobs. Only 43 per cent of respondents in Asia-Pacific found stress levels in their jobs to be tolerable, while only employers in Japan, South Korea and Malaysia considered stress levels to be among the key three reasons for staff leaving the organisation.

This underscores a crucial finding in the study: employers have an incomplete understanding of why employees join or leave and particularly underestimate the impact of stress.

'With the growth expectations for the region and everyone watching the bottom line, organisations are asking people to do a lot more with a lot less,' explained Paula DeLisle, vice-president of international client services, Asia-Pacific at Watson Wyatt Worldwide.'Coupled with globalisation and the evolution of technology, you just can't shut off these days and this can be very stressful. Companies willing to look at the stress points in their organisation will find that it will help with retention.'

The survey was conducted from June to July this year. The results were based on a survey of 946 companies and more than 100 million employees spanning the full range of industries in five continents.

The survey also found that clearly setting employee expectations of rewards and delivering on that promise engaged the workforce, while financially high-performing firms showed they were generally better at performance management.

Ms DeLisle said many businesses in the region were still addressing problems one by one, but this approach should gradually change.

She advocated tackling human resources issues from a more holistic perspective, with companies taking a macro view of the business and crafting their human resources strategies around it. 'Companies need to start thinking about a total solution,' she said, adding they should adopt a longer-term plan of three to five years so they could build an HR solution around the needs of the business.