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Computer downtime trumps shortage of parking spaces as the biggest workplace irritant according to new survey

Human Resource departments score lowest in responsiveness to employee needs

June 13, 2019 - Reading, UK

Employees at British businesses rate computer downtime as the most significant irritant at their current workplace (41 percent) when asked to pick their top three, ahead of forgotten passwords (23 percent), the absence of parking spaces (22 percent) or stolen meeting rooms (15 percent.) When asked to pick their top two information technology (IT) frustrations, slow response times to fixing computer problems (29 percent) and the difficulty of reaching IT staff (24 percent) to fix PC were a top notch up our stress levels even higher in today’s digitally connected workplace.

These findings form part of a YouGov survey of employees at 500 British businesses with 50 or more staff, conducted on behalf of Cherwell Software, a global leader in service management.

Key Findings:

When asked to pick their top three, 41 percent of employees rate computer downtime as the biggest workplace irritant 38 percent think their business is ‘poor’ at managing technological change HR departments rank lower than IT and facilities management teams in responsiveness to employees’ needs (51 percent compared to 60 percent and 55 percent respectively) Head of IT rather than the board members or the CEO should be held most accountable for a major IT failure according to employees (31 percent compared to 11 percent and 9 percent respectively) More than one in four employees’ (28 percent) believe the leadership team with their business would be ineffective in handling a major IT failure

The survey highlights the huge importance of digital connectivity in our working day and explores the confidence in British management to handle major IT disruptions effectively. In the past 12 months, organisations from banks, airlines all the way through to the UK court and justice system have been hit with IT outages that have led to significant disruptions to daily operations, caused customers to defect to other brands and, in some cases, has led to the resignation of chief executives and members of the management teams. In a report from the consumer group Which? in March 2019, it was revealed that a significant IT shutdown happens to at least one UK bank every day.

Interestingly, when asked who should be held most accountable for a major IT failure, 31 percent of employees point the finger of blame squarely at IT leaders for IT failures, which have a major impact on customers and business productivity. This compares to just 11 percent levelling the blame at the board and 9 percent at the CEO.

According to Josh Caid, Chief Evangelist for Cherwell Software, “It’s evident that there’s little confidence amongst the workforce that British businesses have learned valuable lessons from widely-publicised technology system failures. Unlike disruptions caused by data breaches, failures during planned internal IT migrations and upgrades are particular sore spots for employees and the public alike who – rightly so – become sceptical of the potential for effective change management.”

Human Resource departments failing employees

The research also highlights the perceived shortcomings of Human Resources (HR) departments in their level of responsiveness to employee needs. Almost one in three employees (32 percent) said their HR teams were not responsive; this compares to approximately one in four respondents criticising IT (25 percent) or operations (24 percent) teams for lack of responsiveness.

Josh Caid explains the anomaly of HR teams failing to support employees in the following way adequately: “HR team leaders tend to be more risk-averse and processes and access to data are often less automated when compared to IT departments. That being said, forward-thinking HR executives are waking up to the need to digitise assets and streamline processes to enable them to be more responsive to workers and create greater staff engagement. Millennial workers have a different attitude to ‘boomers’ in the treatment they expect from employers. They show loyalty to an employer who takes care of their lifestyle needs as well as the financial ones, which is why we’re seeing more significant investment by companies in digitally transforming their HR operations.”

Research methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 501 Great Britain employees. Fieldwork was undertaken between January 31 - February 4, 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size with 50 plus employees.

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