Organizational changes can induce employee sick leave: Study

Research finds correlation between major organizational changes and number of sick leaves taken

Organizational changes can induce employee sick leave: Study

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

New research conducted by a human resources consulting company suggests a strong link between major organizational changes and the number of sick leaves taken by employees following such changes.

In a recent survey of employees and employers across Canada by Morneau Shepell, 46% of employee respondents revealed that they have taken time off work or noticed other employees take more time off work following changes in the workplace.

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Of those respondents that said they have experienced a change, 43% said the change “had a negative impact on their perception of the company.” Another 40% indicated that it “negatively affected their health and well-being,” while 30% answered that it “impacted their job performance.”

According to the survey, Alberta employees experienced the most workplace changes among other provinces in the country, with 74% of respondents in the region experiencing at least one workplace change with their current employer during the time of their employment.

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“We have found that among the types of organizational changes, job re-design has the strongest correlation to sick leave for both physical and mental health,” said Morneau Shepell president and CEO Alan Torrie. “This type of change sometimes gets less focus than things like mergers, but it is clearly important to the day-to-day experience of employees.”

“The reality is that organizational change is more likely to increase than decrease over time. With technology advances, new business models and global economic forces, change is the new normal,” Torrie explained. “With this, it is important for organizations to understand the impact on people and consider the best way to support their workforce through on-going change.”

The survey also found that depression and anxiety are the most prevalent workplace mental health issues; 31% and 28% of employee respondents have indicated a current or past mental condition, respectively.

Sick leave for mental health concerns is more than two times as likely for employees aged 30 and under, the study additionally observed.

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