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Gallup and Healthways Survey Reveals Work Is Getting U.S. Employees Down


American workplaces are unhappy and unhealthy environments. The latest news from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is that improvements seen in job creation and economic growth are not reflected in the work environment. Despite a slight improvement since the lowest point in 2011, the work environment indicator is still three points below its position in the first report of 2008. Of all the indices, it has dropped the deepest and recovered the least. The current overall well-being score is 66.8, whereas the work environment index is a mere 48.5. The study, conducted jointly by the Gallup organization and Healthways, a consulting company, took four years to complete and is based on the data of 1.4 million people across America. The index comprises six core elements: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and access to basic necessities. The work environment index further contains the four sub-indices of job satisfaction, ability to use one’s strengths at work, supervisor treatment and working in an open and trusting environment. The supervisor treatment sub-index considers styles ranging from authoritative to inclusive. The findings should come as no great surprise if we consider that economic growth continues to be uneven and uncertain. The massive lay-offs and resultant work intensification of recent years hardly bode well either for improvement in job satisfaction; and there is little time for relationship-building. I believe this is an opportunity to look at things differently. There is leverage in this grim picture for someone willing to try something different. By creating the kind of workplace that attracts and retains high-fliers and by adopting a strategy that builds trust and supports job satisfaction, you could outpace your competitors. As a starting point, do three things to transform the culture of your work environment. Ask and answer these questions: 1. What do employees need to be successful in their jobs? 2. What does job satisfaction look like in the eyes of your own employees? 3. What changes should be made to the level and nature of supervisory support? Supervisors and managers need a new way of managing. Instead of the command-control ethos, the adoption of a strength-based approach, which builds trust at all levels, is the new competitive advantage. Building skills through training is a critical lever in creating such behavior and culture change. Do you have corporate goals ensuring performance growth and a positive workplace culture? In the spirit of shared learning, please let me know what you’re doing and how it is working for you. References Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index State of Well-Being 2011

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