Why You Hate Work

In a 2013 report by Gallup, just 30 percent of employees feel engaged at work.  Worldwide, the proportion of employes who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent.  For most of us, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and growing worse.

Curious to understand what most influences people’s engagement and productivity at work, the Energy Project and Harvard Business Review partnered last fall to conduct a survey of more than 12,000 mostly white-collar employees across a broad range of companies and industries. They also gave the survey to employees at two of The Energy Project’s clients — one a manufacturing company with 6,000 employees, the other a financial services company with 2,500 employees. The results were remarkably similar across all three populations.

Employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, it turns out, when four of their core needs are met: physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work; emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions; mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work.

The more effectively leaders and organizations support employees in meeting these core needs, the more likely the employees are to experience engagement, loyalty, job satisfaction and positive energy at work, and the lower their perceived levels of stress. When employees have one need met, compared with none, all of their performance variables improve. The more needs met, the more positive the impact.

Put simply, the way people feel at work profoundly influences how they perform. What the study revealed is just how much impact companies can have when they meet each of the four core needs of their employees.

Excerpted from an article written by Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath