HR staff ‘has felt physically threatened at work’

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Nearly one in seven HR staff has felt physically threatened at work, highlighting growing concerns about the impact of disputes in the workplace, new research from MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

The nationwide study found 47% of HR departments have seen an increase in the number of disputes among staff over the past two years as stress in the workplace became a major concern. Around 56% of HR departments say stress has increased in their organisation.

Disputes among staff are not confined to employees – 26% of HR departments say they have had to mediate in fall-outs between senior management, while 27% have had to deal with bust-ups among employees.

MetLife Employee Benefits believes this research highlights the growing burden on HR departments, as they are now having to deal with a wider range of issues. This underlines the need for organisations to focus on training and support for staff to help them cope with stress.

Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director of MetLife UK, said: “Nobody should be getting physically threatened over work disputes and it is shocking that so many HR staff have been concerned about it.

“Disputes in the workplace may be inevitable to some extent and the research demonstrates they take up a lot of HR time, with senior management just as prone to falling out as the staff they are managing. Stress in the workplace can be detrimental to the mental and physical health of employees, as well as workplace productivity.”

The study shows requests for flexible working have been the biggest issue for HR departments in the past two years – 62% have dealt requests for flexible working, slightly ahead of 57% who have dealt with pay rise requests.

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson