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Do you avoid difficult conversations at work? You're not alone

The issue was most pronounced at the smallest and largest employers, the report found. 77 percent of people working in start-ups and 78 percent of those at companies with more than 10,000 employees said they were avoiding tough conversations, compared with around 60 percent of people at medium-sized companies.

Toby Hervey, CEO of Bravely, said that could be the result of a lack of access to HR or, particularly at smaller firms, a suitable representative.

A problem for start-ups and big business

“At small companies, relationships can be generally more intensive (you spend a lot of time with a small number of colleagues!) and that can make it harder to create the space and time for difficult conversations and sharing tough feedback,” Hervey told CNBC Make It in an email, noting that smaller firms typically have limited — or non-existent — HR departments.

“We’ve seen in some organizations that some employees may not know who their designated HR contact is,” Hervey added of larger organizations. “If they do, many HR representatives are supporting hundreds, if not thousands, of employees, and can have minimal bandwidth.”

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