When in doubt, Google it. From trivial to more serious matters, most people nowadays are relying on Google to find answers to any questions or inquiries they meet in life. In the modern workplace, employees are also asking Google first about work-related issues – instead of going directly to the HR manager’s office.
Elements Global Services recently analyzed Google search trends to explore what HR-related questions people are frequently researching, and by extension, what pain points these searches could implicate to the employer-employee relationship. These are the top 50 HR questions that employees ask on Google:
By category, the analysis also revealed the following top HR questions searched:
Do employees feel threatened with monitoring software?
Trust is a central dynamic in employer-employee relationships. Employees have a lot of questions about the limitations of their privacy and the extent to which they are monitored by employers. This is reflected in how often they search for privacy-related issues on search engines.
The survey found that three in four workers who use a computer (76%) are concerned about their communications being monitored. In describing the communications they regret, 44% say they’ve talked about something inappropriate for the workplace, 35% say they were gossiping or being negative, and 21% say their communications were simply off-topic from work and could be viewed as wasting time.
Those working in insurance (89%), HR (85%) and accounting (83%) were most likely to say they’re concerned about being monitored, and 59% of all workers say their employer would be upset with them if they knew everything they’ve ever said or written while at work.
Do employees trust their HR managers?
While employees are showing negative sentiment towards surveillance, the good news is that the majority of workers (83%) say they trust their HR manager or department. However, a few industries have not established such trust consistently. Around 50% of people working in media and 69% working in hospitality say they don’t trust HR. Additionally, entry-level women are the least likely to say they trust HR to protect their interests (68%), versus everyone else (79%). On the other hand, entry-level men (83%) have a nearly equal expectation that their interests will be protected as do senior-level women (84%).
While a majority of people say they trust HR, that doesn’t mean they find HR effective, or that they don’t harbor other concerns when they consider making formal complaints. Two-thirds of workers say they’ve neglected to report something to HR because they didn’t think HR would fix the issue. The most frequently cited problems were: having too much work, a personality clash and bullying.
In the end, the survey noted that there is much room for progress in building trust and accountability at the center of employee-employer relationships, and the exponential rise in time spent working remotely will only make this more important. Additionally, HR managers should take note of the many thousands of queries being made in Google each month, and look for ways to better answer these questions upfront.