Gallup says the Global Workplace is Broken: What should leaders do to fix it?

December 22, 2022

Gallup says the Global Workplace is Broken: What should leaders do to fix it?

“Being miserable at work can bring more suffering to a person’s life than being unemployed.”Gallup

“Work sucks” is a sentiment shared by the majority of employees all around the world. Some of the common mantras you’ll hear are: “living for the weekend” and “work is just a paycheck”. 

Gallup’s study showed that the world is full of broken workplaces, and the statistics are staggering.

Work comes with certain levels of stress, worry, and even pain. It is inevitable. But when stress and anxiety build up long enough without being addressed, or with seemingly no resolution, it can lead to burnout, disengagement at work, and even prompt employees to quit their jobs.

What causes such a drastic negative sentiment at work? In their burnout study, Gallup found the top five factors that make work suck:

The common factor? Poor leadership. As leaders, we need to step up to improve life at work for our people. There have been a lot of movements that began in the past few years to try and fix the world’s broken workplaces, such as promoting “work-life balance”, remote and hybrid work setup, and 4-day workweeks. But distancing ourselves from work would not be enough.

How can leaders fix this?

It isn’t rocket science, but it also won't be easy. The best way to fix a broken workplace is to tackle the issue at the core: relationships. Leaders need to step up and be better at building relationships.

Take the time to evaluate the kind of culture your business currently has. Does it have a positive impact on your employees’ overall well-being? Are you giving them psychologically safe spaces to manage stress, resolve conflict, and raise issues? Is your culture encouraging trust, respect, and the right mindset to thrive? Do you have a shared purpose? Are you giving your people the proper motivation and recognition that they deserve?

Culture is just one of the organization-level factors that need improvement in our workplaces. Our processes, practices, and metrics also need to be recalibrated. Are you measuring what matters in terms of fostering a healthy working environment? Are your processes aligned with your purpose? Do you have systems that can support your people’s growth, learning, and overall well-being?

On a personal level, reflect on how you are as a leader. Are you working on your empathy, listening, and communication skills? Are you opening a feedback loop with the goal of improving both yourself and your team? Do you welcome diversity of thought, treat your people well, and help them realize their best selves? Do you empower your people and provide opportunities for them to take risks, experiment, and take ownership of their roles and the shared purpose your team has?

The answer is really simple. Treat people with kindness and influence them to follow your example. It is simple, but it isn’t that easy. But practice and mindfulness of our actions can get us there.

Happy employees are crucial to growing your business. In fact, businesses with engaged workers are 23% more profitable than those with miserable employees. They also see significantly lower rates of absenteeism, turnover, and workplace accidents. Plus, they enjoy higher customer and employee loyalty.

Leaders have the biggest impact on how well (or how badly) employees perceive their work experience. And between being a bad boss and an awesome leader, I think the choice is obvious. Let’s do our best to make work something our people look forward to and enjoy. 

Thanks for reading “A Brilliant Tribe.”