Additionally, 57% of those in management positions felt confident in the ability of their firm’s HR teams to address employee wellbeing and mental health, as compared to only 40% of individual contributors. 

A Hibob study has found that two groups - men and employees in management positions - are grappling less with mental health and job satisfaction issues than two other workplace groups, i.e. women and individual contributors.

Overall, while a majority of employees (based in the US) have been suffering from a mental health decline since the start of the pandemic, data indicates that individual experiences are shaped by gender, age, personal environment, and role at work. These factors impact productivity levels and rates of mental health decline and feelings of job satisfaction and security.

Thus interestingly, the study looked into discrepancies between mental health among employees in management positions versus employees who are not managers (individual contributors). This revealed a 22% decline in mental health for individual contributors; 65% of individual contributors ranked their mental health as good or great before the pandemic, compared to just 43% now. Alternately, those in management positions only saw a 12% decline in mental health since the onset of the pandemic.

Additionally, 57% of those in management positions felt confident in the ability of their firm’s HR teams to address employee wellbeing and mental health, as compared to only 40% of individual contributors. In fact, data suggests that managers have more trust in HR than employees.

Looking at data from other demographics, around one-quarter of people 55 and older saw their mental health decline (26%) and became less satisfied with their jobs (24%), whereas only 10% of those aged 18-24 experienced mental health declines. Further, the survey revealed that 10% fewer women rated their mental health at work 4 or 5 as compared to men.

Additionally, more women (41%) admitted to feeling guilty taking PTO during the pandemic, compared to only 32% of men. This negative correlation of women’s wellbeing and PTO calls attention to the urgency of addressing mental health on the individual or circumstantial level.

“As companies continue to power through the pandemic, they cannot ignore their role in supporting employees who are struggling, and must take action to address them,” said Ronni Zehavi, CEO at Hibob.

“With the unpredictability of the future, it’s important for leaders to support its people. Transparency up and down the organisation is paramount to creating a strong culture, and HR teams must strive to maintain genuine ongoing engagement and communication with employees. Without open communication, the struggles employees are facing may go unrecognised, which could impact their productivity and job satisfaction, and therefore, the organisation overall.”

The survey was conducted online by Pollfish on behalf of Hibob, and it includes responses from 1,000 full-time employees, ages 18 and up in the United States.

Individual contributors vs management roles

Since the start of the pandemic, individual contributors have reported lower job satisfaction levels than those who were in management roles. Directly influencing job satisfaction and work from home productivity was HR’s ability to set WFH expectations and address COVID-19 WFH concerns.

While only 54% of individual contributors felt their HR teams have supported and adapted to the pandemic’s effects on the company, a majority (71%) of those in management positions felt HR had done an excellent job communicating and being helpful.

This confidence directly corresponds to job satisfaction, where 18% of individual contributors reported a decline since March, while 10% of managers were similarly impacted.

Lastly, a surprising 61% of managers felt very productive while working remotely, whereas less than half (44%) of individual contributors felt productive at home. Although managers may be under more pressure by company executives, these results indicate a serious need for companies to audit and reevaluate how they’re setting up individual contributors for success and satisfaction.

Lead image / 123RF

Readers' Survey 2021: We'd like to hear from you! Please let us know what content is most valuable to you in 2021 by taking our 3-minute survey now. Thank you, readers!