What's scaring workers the most this Halloween?

by HCA31 Oct 2013

It’s not ghosts or goblins, or even public speeches that are scaring workers the most this Halloween – it’s making a mistake at work.

According to survey findings, almost a third of workers fear making a mistake, and it may be inhibiting business agility and measured risk taking as a result.

One HR consulting professional commented that while in healthy doses a fear of failure can be a good motivator, it can have damaging results when it starts affecting their confidence. “In order to grow in their careers, professionals must be willing to tackle challenges head on and move beyond their comfort zones. Even smart risks that don’t pan out can help individuals discover new ideas and better ways of doing things,” Gena Griffin of Accountemps said.

Behind work mistakes and negotiating with difficult clients was the ever-unpopular public speaking (16% feared this), conflicts with co-workers (14%) and managers (12%).

Without risk taking organisations miss out on innovation and ideas – so how can you encourage workers to take risks, even if it means making mistakes?

Robert Half International CEO Max Messmer says it’s about making your priorities clear to your employees.

According to Messmer, taking some of these steps can help you reassure and encourage your team:

  • Ask for your employees’ input. Suggestion boxes are one way to get input. If you acknowledge those suggestions in a team meeting, employees realise that you’re taking their suggestions seriously. And you can build the trust necessary to encourage their input through other channels, such as one-on-one meetings.
  • Don’t be afraid to hire someone outspoken. Every company needs a person who can shake things up and offer a reality check. When you’re looking to hire a new employee, be sure to evaluate candidates on both their qualifications and their confidence levels.
  • Reward risk taking, no matter how it turns out. Even calculated risks fail some of the time. Let your staff know that you understand that not every risk yields success. And let them see by your words and actions that taking a smart risk won’t be reprimanded.


  • by Julie Cork 31/10/2013 3:37:32 PM

    Yes, yes to Max Messmer's tips.
    I'm interested in hearing examples of how organisations have rewarded risk taking, particularly those takers of risks where the risk turns out to be unsuccessful.

Most Read