A study has found that accountancy bosses think their staff are happier than they are, with 84% thinking their staff are happy compared to just 64% of staff saying that they are.
The study, undertaken by People First—an HR solutions provider—spoke to 250 accountancy bosses and 250 accountancy employees about their attitudes to work, their happiness and engagement levels, and the importance of being liked.
Of the 250 bosses asked in the survey, 93% said that they think it is important to be liked at work. There was also a call for an improvement in day-to-day experience of work, with 90% of staff saying they wanted to see positive change in this area.
“Likeability is good in a boss,” said Mark Williams, Senior Vice President Product at People First. “But with so many employees in the accountancy sector wanting their experience at work improved, you have to ask if bosses really understand their workforces. There’s obviously a happiness gap where managers believe morale is better than it really is. They are clearly failing to measure staff engagement regularly.”
Summary of findings:
- 84% of bosses think their staff are happy – only 64% of staff say they are
- 93% of bosses are concerned with being liked
- 90% of workers want improved work-experience
- 76% of bosses believe most staff are fully engaged – only 42% of employees feel this way
- 48% of men are more engaged at work versus only 37% of women
The study shows a disconnect between what accountancy bosses believe to be the case and the reality of their employees’ levels of happiness and their engagement at work. This is a clear sign that bosses must do more to understand and empathise with their workforce, and drive efforts to improve on the issues that employees have highlighted.
The results also show that there is a gender gap between engagement levels of men and woman at work, reflecting a longstanding difference in support and career development offered to women, as well as the gender pay-gap, according to People First.
Another disconnect between bosses and their staff is their understanding of why accountancy employees leave their jobs. While 39% of employers believe most staff quit due to emotional reasons, only 17% of employees say that this is the main cause of them handing in their notice.
The importance of being rewarded for excellent work was also highlighted by the study, with 56% of UK accountancy employees regarding rewards for excellent work as important, while 51% would like more opportunities for flexible working.
“Poor productivity is a British disease which we can cure through better understanding of what motivates employees and gets them into the flow where time flies and work is more enjoyable and fulfilling,” added Williams. “That’s why it’s important to rely on more than gut feeling about how happy or engaged staff are. Regular check-ins must replace the dated annual appraisal as only with regular conversations can an employer see the true picture of their employees.”
“There are so many different aspects to any accountancy job, such as training, career development and flexible working, that making assumptions about what employees want is misguided. As an employer you need to know what makes your staff happy to work hard and what makes them leave.”