The owners of small UK companies have been warned their poor sense of humour could be driving staff to the point of resignation, as a new survey revealed a startling reality for employers.
The YouGov commissioned poll, which took in the opinions of 50,000 small business workers, asked staff members for honest opinions on the traits that most infuriated them about their employer.
The most common response, cited as the worst trait by three-quarters of respondents, was that employers were unable to take a joke.
Half of employees also claimed their boss was unable to focus on one task for a prolonged period of time, while a third believed they were too often asked questions that crossed personal boundaries.
The findings suggested an unrealistic self-perception of small business owners. An overwhelming eight in ten workers felt their boss had an unrealistic view of themselves.
Just one in ten respondents claimed they would willingly socialise with their employer on a weekend, while the same number admitted they had actively avoided or ignored their boss in a public environment.
“It’s nothing personal,” said one anonymous respondent, “but as employees we are obliged to humour our boss and put up with many annoying habits.”
Worringly for Britain’s community of small employers, over half of small business employees said the annoying character traits had pushed them to the brink of resignation.
“Our findings reveal a great disconnect between what business leaders think of themselves and how they are perceived by employees,” said Harry Leigh, a director at Imaginary People, the HR consultancy that commissioned the study.
“Employees are only human, and consistent irritation could enough to force staff out of the company. Small business owners must heed the warnings and acknowledge irritating behaviour before it’s too late. Our message is clear – lighten up.”
The study revealed the top ten annoying character traits of small employers.
- Bad sense of humour
- Short attention span
- Too intrusive into personal details
- Too honest
- Embarrassing fashion sense
- Too loud
- Too impatient
You’ll never guess which TV star was cited as the biggest inspiration for Britain’s older self-employed workforce
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.