Troubling State of Employee Wellbeing - Praxis
Troubling State of Employee Wellbeing

Troubling State of Employee Wellbeing

Only 14% of Indian employees feel they are thriving while a stunning 86% consider themselves to be struggling or suffering. This should be a wake-up call for our policymakers and employers

 

The Gallup State of the Global Workplace2024 report has shed light on the concerning state of employee wellbeing in India. According to the report, which examines employee mental health and well-being worldwide, only 14% of Indian employees consider themselves “thriving” –which is significantly lower than the global average of 34%. This means a staggering 86% of Indian employees are either “struggling” or “suffering.”

The report categorises respondents into three levels of well-being: thriving, struggling, and suffering. Those who rated their present life situation positively (7 or higher) and had an optimistic outlook for the next five years were classified as “thriving.” In contrast, those with uncertain or negative views of their current and future life situations, marked by stress and financial worries, were classified as “struggling” or “suffering.”

The report highlighted that South Asia has the lowest percentage of thriving employees, with only 15% of respondents in the region identifying as thriving – 19 percentage points below the global average. Within South Asia, India has the second-highest rate of thriving at only 14%, just behind Nepal at 22%.

Regarding daily emotions, the report found that 35% of Indian respondents reported experiencing daily anger, the highest in South Asia. However, only 32% of Indian respondents reported daily stress, the lowest in the region compared to 62% in Sri Lanka and 58% in Afghanistan.

Despite the low levels of thriving and high levels of anger, India maintains a relatively high employee engagement rate of 32%, significantly above the global average of 23%. This suggests that while many Indian employees face significant challenges, a substantial portion remains engaged and committed to their work.

Implications

The findings of this report highlight the pressing need for employers and policymakers in India to prioritise the mental health and overall well-being of the workforce. If not addressed, the situation can lead to long-term negative implications for India’s economic and social development.

Following are a few areas that could be impacted:

  • The high levels of employee dissatisfaction, stress, and negative outlooks are likely to translate into reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates. This can hamper the overall competitiveness and growth potential.
  • A struggling or suffering workforce means suboptimal performance, higher costs for employers, and reduced innovation and creativity. This, in turn, can limit a nation’s ability to capitalise on emerging economic opportunities and maintain its trajectory of strong economic growth.
  • Furthermore, high anger levels as reported among Indian employees could contribute to workplace conflicts, disruptions, and a less collaborative work environment overall. This will impede both organisational efficiency and strategic objectives.
  • Struggling or suffering people are more likely to experience mental health challenges, physical illnesses, and strained personal relationships. This can lead to wider societal issues, such as increased healthcare costs, family instability, and social unrest.
  • The prevalence of such negative emotions among a large segment of the workforce may spill over into the broader social fabric, contributing to increased interpersonal conflicts, community tensions, and social polarisation. This can undermine social cohesion and affect business environment.

Wake-up call for Policymakers and Employers

Implementing targeted programs and interventions to address the drivers of stress, financial worries, and negative outlooks could help more employees move from the “struggling” or “suffering” categories to the “thriving” category. By investing in employee well-being, organisations could not only improve individual lives but also foster a more engaged and productive workforce.

Like many other Gallup findings in the past, this report should also be considered as a wake-up call. It is crucial for policymakers and employers to prioritise holistic well-being of the workforce. This may involve:

  • Implementing comprehensive mental health support programs and employee assistance initiatives.
  • Addressing the root causes of financial stress and insecurity through better social safety nets and financial literacy initiatives.
  • Fostering more positive and empowering work cultures that prioritise work-life balance and employee engagement.
  • Investing in leadership development and conflict resolution training to help managers better support their teams.
  • Collaborating with educational institutions to instill stronger social-emotional learning and coping mechanisms from an early age.

By taking proactive steps, India can unlock the full potential of its workforce and lay a stronger foundation for sustainable economic and social progress on the global stage.

Stay tuned for our complete roundup of the Gallup State of the Global Workplace report,to be covered in a forthcoming article.

Acknowledgement:www.gallup.com

 

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