- While 42% of global knowledge workers feel their company does a good job of taking care of them, about a quarter say they either have no resources in place or don’t know anyone in their company who’s responsible for keeping them feeling happy and well in their workplace, according to a March 23 report on employee disillusionment by global employment platform Oyster.
- The more than 2,500 workers who responded said they consider regular pay raises (86%), psychological safety (84%) and flexible work (83%) the most valued aspects of their workplace. However, specific responses differed along race and gender lines: Black and female workers consider a safe, inclusive culture more important than their White male colleagues do. Black employees are also more in favor of regular pay raises (63%) than their White colleagues (48%); and manager check-ins are more important to Black and female employees than they are to White male workers, according to the survey.
- About three-quarters of employees say paid time off is the benefit that most affects their well-being at work. Top aspirational benefits also include a four-day work week and remote work.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the findings about employee well-being are the most concerning, Oyster said. It found that stress over external events — in particular, the rising cost of living and personal worries — is affecting how workers do their job: More than half say it’s getting in the way of their ability to focus.
“Imagine at your place of work that at any given time, over half the organization is struggling to get their work done,” the report observed. “When you think of it like that, we’re looking at a crisis of employee engagement.”
Indeed, employee engagement has been trending downward since 2021, which marked the first annual decline in a decade, a recent Gallup survey revealed. The number of employees who reported feeling “actively disengaged” went down two percentage points in 2022, according to Gallup. Actively disengaged employees differ from employees who are simply not engaged in that they are “actively likely to leave,” a chief researcher said.
In the Gallup survey, employees reported feeling less engaged mainly because they were confused about what their employer expected of them. Managers can combat the problem by having at least one meaningful conversation a week with their direct reports about these expectations, the researcher noted.
The results of the Oyster survey bolster this approach. “It was heartwarming to see how impactful managers are when it comes to employee well-being,” the report said. Managers “truly make the difference between a good job and an intolerable one.”
Employee engagement is also tied to workers’ satisfaction with how inclusive their organization is, and managers play a critical role here as well, a QuestionPro report published in January noted. Managers can provide employees with a great opportunity to impact how inclusive their teams are and, in turn, how inclusive the organization is as a whole, the report said.
Ultimately, it comes down to HR departments to ensure these issues are being addressed and employees have access to the resources they need to help get them resolved: Close to 56% of the knowledge workers who responded to the Oyster survey point to HR teams as the people responsible for taking care of them in the organization.
How do HR professionals maintain their own equilibrium and promote a healthy work environment? They can develop positive strategies to overcome negative thinking and troublesome ideation that could result from the stress of their work, the founder and executive director of a leadership development firm told HR pros attending a 2022 Society for Human Resource Management conference.
The executive director explained that positive psychology invites new questions, like “What is working?” It may seem simple, but it requires a significant change in perspective. He outlined three strategies for doing so: using hard evidence to disprove inaccuracies; checking for silver linings or positive or alternative viewpoints; and putting together a plan just in case an outcome is undesirable.