HR Buzz: Crying Workers, Evil Bosses, Health Coverage Shifts

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

What you need to know this week about workplace trends, surveys, and reports.

Is It OK to Cry?

If you’re having a really, really bad day at work, is it all right to shed a few tears?

Ordinary office employees and chief financial officers alike appear to be split on this question, according to a survey by Menlo Park, Calif.-based accounting staffing firm Accountemps.

A slim plurality of ordinary office workers and CFOs (38 percent and 44 percent, respectively) believe that “crying is OK from time to time, but doing it too often can undermine career prospects,” Accountemps said, based on a survey of more than 1,000 office workers and more than 2,200 CFOs.

However, 32 percent of workers and 26 percent of CFOs said it’s never all right to let loose with the tears at work, lest others perceive you as weak or immature. Thirty-one percent of workers and 30 percent of CFOs said crying is fine because it’s only human.

Bosses and the Golden Rule

If workers are crying, it may be because they see their bosses as heartless and immoral.

More than four-fifths (83 percent) of workers surveyed by LRN Corp., which helps other companies foster ethical business cultures, appear not to believe that their companies’ leaders follow the Golden Rule, treating others as they would want to be treated, since that huge majority says their companies would be making better decisions if the top executives respected this moral precept.

Only 13 to 17 percent of the more than 500 employees polled by LRN think their leaders make amends when they do something wrong, acknowledge their own failings, usually take a moral stand, or put principles first. And while employees have a little more respect for supervisors they actually work with, their opinions of them aren’t a lot better: less than one-quarter (23 percent) say that “the managers and executives they work with closely are moral leaders,” LRN said.

Shifting Insurance Picks

The volatile political situation surrounding employer-sponsored health insurance in the U.S. has been leading to some significant shifts in employee preferences.

Across the country, employees are moving away from high-deductible health plans, according to a report by Benefitfocus, a software platform that helps insurance companies and employers administer benefits. Less than one-third (31 percent) of employees in the South and the West this year are enrolled in HDHPs, alongside 36 percent in the Northeast and 37 percent in the Midwest. Last year, the figures ranged from 32 percent in the West to 42 percent in the Midwest who were enrolled in HDHPs. PPO participation is higher, ranging from 37 percent in the West to 48 percent in the South as of this year. HMOs are the least popular type of plan, with only 2 percent of Northeastern employees taking part in an HMO and up to 15 percent of Westerners enrolled in them this year.

The data come from anonymous enrollment transactions aggregated across 544 employers with 1,000 or more full-time employees, representing 1,281,447 consumers, Benefitfocus says.

Check back every Thursday to get your latest HR Buzz.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at; Martha Mueller Neff at

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