LeadersEdge blog
Insights for Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders
Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce
June 19, 2023

In previous weeks, we wrote about the power of collaboration as today’s world demands leaders who know how to collaborate well on all levels - upwards, downwards, and cross-functionally inside and outside their respective organization.  

This week, we are going to shift gears and are excited to provide some highlights from Gallup's 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report. The trends and updated data are promising, but there is still a lot of work to be done to address employee wellbeing, which will help reduce the amount of disengagement that organizations are experiencing globally.

Gallup’s latest report shows that 23% of the world’s employees were engaged and thriving at work in 2022, the highest level since Gallup began measuring global engagement in 2009, with engaged employees only representing 11%. While the numbers are impressive, there are also concerning stats: 59% of workers are “quiet quitting” (not engaged) and 18% are “loud quitting” (actively disengaged).

Here is an overview of Gallup’s category definitions and the financial impact of disengagement:

Thriving at work: These employees find their work meaningful and feel connected to the team and their organization. They feel proud of the work they do and take ownership of their performance, going the extra mile for teammates and customers.

Quiet quitting: These employees are filling a seat and watching the clock. They put in the minimum effort required, and are often psychologically disconnected from their employer. Although they are minimally productive, they are more likely to be stressed and burnt out than engaged workers because they feel lost and disconnected from their workplace. 

Loud quitting: These employees take actions that directly harm the organization, undercutting its goals and opposing its leaders. At some point along the way, the trust between employee and employer was severely broken. Or the employee has been woefully mismatched to a role, causing constant crises.

Gallup estimates that impact due to disengagement costs the global economy US$8.8 trillion and accounts for 9% of global GDP. 

The Hard Facts - Stress Management & Employee Wellbeing

While engagement results are on the rise, so are employee stress levels, which have remained at a record high of 44% in 2022 and 2021 even though we are on the path of recovering from the pandemic.  

Gallup’s analysis finds that when employees are engaged at work, they report significantly lower stress in their lives. The ongoing debate about the pros and cons of remote, hybrid or fully on-site work remains, but the flexibility of remote work allows for greater autonomy and wellbeing, which is highly valued in today's workplace.

Additionally, Gallup found that engagement has 3.8 times as much influence on employee stress as work location. In other words, what people experience in their everyday work, their feelings of involvement and enthusiasm matters more in reducing stress than where they are physically located. 

Leaders really need to dial into the way in which they engage and involve their people, regardless of location, as it has a direct impact on how they feel from a stress management and overall wellbeing perspective.

In a February 2023, Harvard Business Review created a pulse survey called The Battle Against Workplace Stress in which 82% of respondents were familiar with their organization’s mental wellness and stress management programs (or lack thereof) and determined that workplace stress is a problem at their organization. A whopping 72% said stress is contributing to employee burnout.

In the report, they also shared that the most diligent and progressive organizations are taking a three-prong approach to help their employees manage their stress levels: 

  • Being proactive rather than reactive by offering preventive tools and resources to help reduce stress and anxiety such as fitness and mindfulness programs, employee assistance programs and access to mental health resources and tools.
  • Training leaders to be mindful and to better manage and regulate their own emotions. Leaders need to role-model the right behaviors; therefore, they need assistance and support as they set the stage for how their people will show up based on their behavior.

  • Provide and encourage employees to take short mental health breaks during the day to destress and recharge. This also includes incorporating wellness and stress management into their business practices, i.e., no lunch time or after-hour calls and meetings, being mindful of not applying ongoing unmanageable stress levels or extremely heavy workloads.

In next week’s blog, we will be providing some additional best practices, insights, and approaches to drive up employee engagement and reduce unnecessary stress on your most valuable resource – your people.

What are your thoughts on Gallup’s recent report? What are you experiencing in your organization and do the results align with the recent findings? We would love to hear from you!

Contact me at joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca or call me at 1.416.560.1806.

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