26th Jun 2024
3 Min Read

Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report: three insights and three solutions

Charlie Feasby
Charlie Feasby
People & Change

Gallup’s annual State of the Global Workplace report is a must-read for IC professionals, giving a snapshot of work from the perspective of the average employee. So, how are employees feeling? In short, not great. Here are three takeaways from this year’s report (and three possible solutions).

1) People are stressed and lonely

Our mental wellbeing has gotten worse. According to this year’s report, overall wellbeing fell for the first time in five years. It’s easy to be complacent – it’s only a slight dip in an upward trend – but dismissing these results now could have serious consequences for the future.

Work and overall wellbeing go hand-in-hand. One respondent said: “If I’m not doing well at work, I’m not doing well in life. It’s just the way it is.” Only 34 per cent of respondents described their wellbeing as ‘thriving’.

Many also experience daily loneliness. Twenty per cent of the world’s employees felt lonely the previous day – and that number is higher for fully remote workers. Loneliness doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It affects our mental and physical health too.

All this looks pretty bleak. But the flexibility to create our own working schedule has improved overall wellbeing. Hybrid working benefits productivity and retention, so a mandated full return to office can come across as a lack of trust from leaders. When done well, it’s all about balance.

Our advice? Tread carefully. The key is to support your people, make sure their in-person experiences match good intentions and help employees to work in the way that’s best for them. If you’re returning to the office, take the time to reframe your approach to get it right.

2) Employee engagement is a trillion-dollar problem

How significant an impact can checked-out employees really have? Gallup estimates that “low employee engagement costs the global economy $8.9 trillion, or 9% of global GDP”. That’s a huge amount of untapped potential.

According to Gallup, 77 per cent of people aren’t engaged in their workplace, with 15 per cent actively choosing to disengage. Looking at the UK alone, an astounding 90 per cent of people aren’t engaged. This is the highest number hit since the report’s inception 15 years ago. When only one in ten of your people are engaged, they’ll be fighting against a tide of negativity and indifference. And that’s how you get quiet quitters.

Engagement starts with motivation – how much effort are employees going to put in when they get out of bed in the morning? According to our lead behavioural scientist Lindsay Kohler, what motivates people can vary, but can normally be grouped into three categories: the impact of your actions, the ability to do the task at hand and the reward for doing so.

Communication is key. If you make the answers to these three motivating factors clear for your people, then you’ll improve their overall engagement and cut the cost of untapped potential. And if you suspect your people’s motivation is dipping, our PRiME insights survey can help.

3) More than half of employees are looking for a job elsewhere

The report highlighted the stark number of people who are unhappy in their current roles. In fact, more than half of the world’s employees are currently seeking a new job – 52 per cent. And that number is even higher for managers at 56 per cent.

This sends a message that more than half of people don’t have the job satisfaction they want. When employees are satisfied in their roles, it can mitigate stress levels. A respondent said: “[Stress and satisfaction] balance each other out to the point that I don’t feel like I need to make a change.”

So if you want to keep your dream team together – especially those in management positions – start with a great Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This tells your people what they can expect from working for you – and what you expect from them in return.

That’s more than just the day-to-day experience though. It also includes the rewards of working for your business. And that’s not just cash-based (like salary, bonuses and pension). There are also value-based rewards like recognition programmes and workplace flexibility that have to pass muster.

When you’ve figured out your total reward package, shout about it from the rooftops with communications that are simple, easy to find and evolve as you learn more about what your people want. When you’re clear about the benefits of working for your business, you give your people more reasons to stay. After all, ‘what’s in it for me?’ is the most-used question in comms for a reason.

The tip of the data iceberg

There are more insights from this year’s Gallup State of the Global Workplace report than we have room to cover. Want to chat about it more? Get in touch.

Beyond EVP

Having a great Employee Value Proposition is just the start. We’ve been exploring how to take your employee experience to the next level – take a look.

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