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Gallup's 'State of the Global Workplace' report 2024

Gallup have just released their annual “State of the Global Workplace” report, which can be found here. It is a brilliantly in-depth look at how our employees are feeling and performing around the world, with a particular focus on wellbeing.


As with previous years, we have read the report in full to pull out a few key findings, facts and figures for you, and present them here with some of our own thoughts and ideas.


Work and wellbeing


According to the report, global employee engagement stagnated in 2023, and overall employee wellbeing took a downturn. Despite both measures being at or near record highs, their lack of improvement in the last 12 months is notable and significant, particularly as they follow years of steady improvements. This trend means that most employees worldwide are still facing challenges both at work and in their personal lives, leading to direct impacts on organisational productivity.


Globally, 20% of employees report experiencing loneliness a lot of the previous day. This percentage is higher for employees under 35. Unsurprisingly, fully remote employees report significantly higher levels of loneliness (25%) than those who work fully on-site (16%). This is why an internal comms strategy absolutely must factor in remote working and include carefully considered provision for keeping remote workers involved, included and feeling that they belong. This may include encouraging some more social-oriented (as opposed to completely work-focused) interactions. We’ll be dedicating a whole blog to this soon, but options might include:

  • scheduling regular virtual coffee breaks where team members can chat about non-work topics,

  • organising online team-building activities, games or quizzes,

  • dedicating channels on your comms platforms to non-work topics (pets, movies, books etc)

  • creating and supporting ERGs to bring together employees with common identities or interests

  • setting up a peer-to-peer recognition platform, which benefits both sender and recipient of a recognition, and can provide an employer with valuable insights


To prove that remote interactions do improve the situation, another Gallup study found that all forms of social time, including via phone, video, and even texting are associated with a better mood.


If you’re wondering how the UK compares to the global picture, I’m afraid it isn’t pretty.

Only 10% of UK workers claim to be engaged. The average for Europe is 13% and it’s 23% globally.

Worse still, 27% of UK workers reported feeling daily sadness, compared with 17% across Europe. That UK figure is up 5% on last year. It seems that, whilst employers cannot take responsibility for all of their workers’ woes, it would be very much in everyone’s interests for UK companies to focus a little more on the health, happiness and wellbeing of their staff.



Statistics on the state of the global workforce
Summary of global insights from Gallup's report

Not all mental health issues stem from work, but work significantly influences our daily emotions and overall life satisfaction. Employees who dislike their jobs often experience high levels of daily stress, worry, and other negative emotions. In fact, according to the Gallup report, on many wellbeing measures like stress, anger, worry, and loneliness, being disengaged at work can feel as bad or worse than being unemployed.


Conversely, when employees find meaning in their work and relationships, they tend to enjoy their days more and experience fewer negative emotions. Half of the employees who are engaged at work report that they are thriving in life overall.


“Actively disengaged employees” (that is workers who actively oppose their employer’s goals) make up a worrying 15% of the global workforce. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are more likely to be suffering in their overall wellbeing, less likely to feel respected, and less likely to experience daily enjoyment than their peers. Over half (54%) of actively disengaged workers reported feeling a lot of stress the previous day.


Stress across the UK workforce appears to be on the up. The proportion of respondents who claimed daily stress increased from 38% to 40% last year. The average for Europe is 37%.

How to mitigate stress at work


Managers and mental health


Managers tend to be more engaged and thriving in life compared to their non-manager counterparts. This can be attributed, at least in part, to the higher pay, social status, and a stronger sense of connection and support they experience within their organisations. They are more likely to feel their opinions matter and have peers they can rely on, contributing to their higher engagement and overall life satisfaction. This is why a comms strategy that prioritises the importance of listening to employees right across the organisation is so important.


Of course, being a manager is not without its challenges. As you might expect, the Gallup report shows that managers report higher levels of stress, anger, sadness, and loneliness than non-managers, and they are more likely to consider leaving their current job. Despite the perks, the emotional toll of managing can be significant. Given their role in providing emotional support to their direct reports, it's crucial to recognise that managers also need support for their mental health and wellbeing.


Interestingly, when managers are engaged at work, it positively impacts the engagement of non-managers. This correlation is evident at a national level, where countries with highly engaged managers are twice as likely to have engaged non-managers. Worryingly for the UK, we appear at the lower end of the curve, with relatively poor scores for both manager and non-manager engagement.


The relationship between manager and non-manager engagement
The relationship between manager and non-manager engagement. Image taken from Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report, 2024

We know that managers play a crucial role in driving employee engagement by setting clear goals, providing regular feedback, and ensuring accountability. Gallup’s extensive research reveals that effective managers build relationships with their team members grounded in respect, positivity, and a deep understanding of each employee’s unique strengths. These managers help employees find meaning and satisfaction in their work, which boosts productivity and enjoyment. Remarkably, 70% of the variance in team engagement is directly influenced by the manager.


Gallup’s 2024 study, the largest of its kind with data from 183,000 business units in 90 countries, highlights the significant benefits of reducing the number of disengaged workers. Highly engaged business units not only enjoy better employee wellbeing but also see higher productivity and profitability compared to teams with low engagement. This underscores the critical role managers play in driving positive outcomes within organisations.


Proof, as if it were needed, can be found in these stats from Gallup.

Highly engaged teams, compared with those with poor engagement, return:

  • 78% lower absenteeism

  • 21% - 51% lower turnover

  • 26% lower shrinkage

  • 63% fewer accidents

  • 30% lower in quality defects

  • 13% - 17% increase in productivity

  • 23% better profitability

  • 68% higher employee wellbeing


So, with engagement stagnating globally (and remaining at just 10% in the UK), wellbeing declining globally and here at home, and more than three in ten UK workers intending to leave their current employer, business leaders would be wise to focus on their employee experience. A lot of that is shaped by their internal comms strategy and offering. If any leaders are not certain that their current offering is up to date, up to speed and completely fit for purpose, we would recommend a health check as a first step towards improving the picture.


This should start a journey towards enhanced employee engagement, improved clarity and consistency in messaging, and a stronger sense of connection within the organisation. By regularly assessing and refining communication strategies, businesses can ensure their teams are well-informed, aligned with company goals, and motivated. This will not only boosts productivity but also foster a positive and collaborative work environment, ultimately contributing to the overall success and wellbeing of the organisation and its people.



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