Trust and emotional connection play a key role in attracting and retaining workers, particularly as the nature of work continues to change, according to a Sept. 20 report based on HP’s first Work Relationship Index. The report showed that employees want to work for an employer with empathetic and emotionally intelligent leaders, and they’d even be willing to take a pay cut for such a job.
The majority of workers worldwide have an unhealthy relationship with work, the report found. More than 80% of knowledge workers said they’re willing to earn less to be happier at work.
“There is a huge opportunity to strengthen the world’s relationship with work in ways that are both good for people and good for business,” Enrique Lores, president and CEO of HP Inc., said in a statement.
“As leaders, we must always reject the false choice between productivity and happiness,” Lores said. “The most successful companies are built on cultures that enable employees to excel in their careers while thriving outside of work.”
In a survey of more than 15,600 people across various industries in 12 countries, 73% of knowledge workers said they have an unhealthy relationship with work.
When employees aren’t happy with their relationship with work, businesses suffer as a result, according to the report. Workers reported less productivity, more disengagement at work and greater feelings of disconnection. When it comes to retention, more than 71% of employees who feel neutral about their relationship with work consider leaving the company, and when they’re not happy, that increases to 91%.
At the leadership level, nearly 3 in 4 business leaders acknowledged that emotionally intelligent leadership is the “only way a leader can be successful going forward,” according to the report. However, employees said they don’t see it enough. In fact, 83% said they’d be willing to earn less money to find an employer who values emotional intelligence, trust and agency.
In addition, knowledge workers said they value a strong workplace culture and would take an 11% pay cut to work somewhere with empathetic, emotionally intelligent leadership and above-average employee engagement and fulfillment. Workers also said they’d give up 13% of their salary for flexibility — to work where or when they want.
Overall, six core drivers appear to contribute to a healthy relationship with work, according to the report: fulfillment, leadership, people-centricity, skills, tools and workspace. Employees want greater purpose, empowerment and genuine connection in the workplace, which employers can foster through increased voice and agency, skills development and training, and a focus on a superb hybrid work experience.