50 % Say Lack of HR Department Contribues To a Toxic Workplace: New Survey from Secure Data

  • Half of the respondents say a lack of HR department contributes to a toxic workplace.

  • Over half, 64% say their boss has a hand in HR operations, and 24% feel uncomfortable about it.

  • Of those who work in small companies, 47% say their company’s HR structure is unprofessional.

  • In general, 43% don’t feel like they can confide in their HR.

  • Over a third of the survey participants don’t trust their company’s HR.

Secure Data, a company that develops ultra-secure and innovative data security products and services, released a survey that discusses how the population feels about HR departments in smaller companies and how the absence of a dedicated HR department could differently affect their morale and productivity.

Usually, the HR department is the first likely to interact with talent. There’s a great responsibility on HR, as typically they handle everything from personal issues to employee records. With the amount of sensitive information HR stores about employees, such as private personal information, compensation details, filed complaints, and more, the data should be completely secure.

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Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The smaller the company, the less advanced the company’s data security measures can be. 

About the risk of potential data breaches, leaked information, and beyond, Secure Data surveyed 1,005 individuals who work in small companies with less than 50 employees to discover what they think about their HR department.

KeyTakeaways from the Report: 

  • Employees don’t trust HR at Small Companies 

The survey found that 88% of people have worked in a small company without an HR person. Even though it might not seem like a big deal, not having an HR department can make a workplace feel toxic, according to half of the respondents.

Almost half of the people we asked who work in small companies said they don’t feel comfortable talking to their HR about personal stuff. What’s even more worrying is that more than a third of the individuals surveyed don’t trust their company’s HR. The main reasons for this lack of trust are feeling like HR plays favorites, shows bias, and isn’t consistent.

Being biased, especially at work, can damage trust because employees want to be treated fairly. If it seems like certain people always get promotions, recognition, or other perks, while others get left out, it makes everyone else feel like they’re being treated unfairly.

This lack of trust can make employees worried about their personal information being shared, especially if there are already unfair things happening.

  • HR at small companies could be perceived as unprofessional 

Almost half of people who work in small companies think their HR isn’t very professional. This can happen because small companies often don’t have enough resources or enough staff to handle HR properly. The survey found that the top three things that make HR in small companies seem unprofessional are being disorganized, not communicating well, and not dealing with conflicts between employees.

When a company doesn’t have a good HR program, it’s hard for the bosses to keep track of everything about their employees and to know all the rules they need to follow. This is especially true when the person in charge of HR also has another job in the company, which is the case for 73% of people we asked. HR is supposed to be the place you can go if you have problems at work or need help, but it’s hard to do that if your boss is in charge of HR, which is pretty common in small companies — 68% of people we asked have had a boss who also managed HR.

  • Privacy is a key concern at small companies

Small businesses often struggle to protect their employees’ privacy because they have limited resources, fewer rules, and smaller teams. This makes it hard to keep sensitive information safe from being seen by people who shouldn’t. Privacy worries are common in small businesses. People we talked to said they’re most worried about their conflicts or problems at work being shared with others. This comes from not trusting HR and feeling like their issues aren’t handled properly. They’re also concerned about their pay and what they say about their bosses being kept private.

With smaller companies often operating with an all-hands-on-deck approach, sensitive information can often land in the hands of people it probably shouldn’t. The respondents revealed that 23% have been surprised about who can access their sensitive information. Sometimes, that information is shared with people who had no business knowing, and 26% say sensitive information about another employee has been shared with them that shouldn’t have been shared.

  • Improving HR department in small companies

The truth is, that employees from the sample surveyed want someone who’s dedicated to making sure everything to do with people and how the company works together is done well. Nearly half of workers wish their company had a better HR department, but many companies are lacking in some basic areas. For example, 48% of small companies don’t even have a handbook for employees. The main things employees feel their small company’s HR isn’t good at are training, talking to employees, and sorting out pay and benefits.

Some people think working at a small company with limited HR is a bad idea, but others like it. The majority of respondents in the survey can’t agree on which is better. Half say they prefer small company HR with limited resources, while the other half prefers big company HR. Many workers actively seek jobs at small companies because they like the company culture. The top three reasons people stick with their jobs at small companies are flexibility, job satisfaction, and having a good work-life balance. 

It’s pretty well known that smaller companies often have a more laid-back atmosphere, which lets employees have a better balance between work and personal life, making them happier with their jobs. Every company has its good and bad points, so it’s important to figure out what matters most to you and find a job that meets your needs.

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