New Research Report: "The State of Humanity at Work"

March 5, 2020 Sarah Payne

4-minute read

"The State of Humanity at Work"

Are you planning something special for your employees tomorrow? After all, the first Friday in March is officially designated Employee Appreciation Day here in the United States. As a company founded on the idea of gratitude, we’ve written a lot about this holiday over the years, including how it’s about more than pizza and cupcakes, how it reminds us of fake news, and how employee appreciation – like Rome – wasn’t built in a day.

In his recent Forbes article about the holiday, Workhuman® CEO Eric Mosley asks, “Does your annual bash show people you appreciate them for who they are and what they do? Does it reinforce mutual respect?” These are important questions to ask. And if you’re unsure, or the answer is “no,” it may be time to rethink your strategy when it comes to employee recognition.

Why? Because the human experience at work has fundamentally changed. As Eric notes in his article, unemployment numbers in the United States are still at an all-time low. People have options. And if they’re unaware of those options, there are recruiters on LinkedIn eager to remind them. So using traditional tactics and hoping you’ll protect retention and engagement simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

In an effort to understand the story behind the human experience at work, Workhuman recently conducted a survey of more than 2,600 full-time workers in the United States. The results are eye-opening and can help HR and senior leaders gain a deeper understanding of how to better cater to core human needs, such as safety, fair pay, work-life harmony, inclusion and belonging, growth, and recognition.

>>> Download the full report, “The State of Humanity at Work,” here. >>>

As with previous research, we’ll be kicking off a blog series to take you through the details of the six high-level findings in the report. For now, here’s a teaser of some of the statistics we uncovered:

1. Safety: Fifteen percent of workers surveyed said they’ve been sexually harassed at work. And while a majority (61%) of those harassed were female, 36% were male. Companies still have a long way to go in building trust and showing a commitment to listening and respect.

2. Fair pay: It may not come as a surprise that more men than women feel they are paid fairly (72% vs. 61%), but our survey also shows pay transparency could be one step toward increased fairness overall.

3. Work-life harmony: More than half of workers (54%) say they’ve experienced burnout in their career. More than one-third (35%) of working moms (and 25% of working dads) do not think their company’s parental leave policy gives employees enough time off. And only one in three say they work remotely, even though remote workers are more likely to report being highly engaged and happy at work.

4. Inclusion and belonging: Echoing previous Workhuman research, the top reason people discriminated is for age, more so than race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Of the nearly one in five workers (18%) who have a mental health condition, 45% say they’ve felt discriminated against at work because of that condition.

5. Growth: Of women who have been pregnant at work, about one in three (36%) say they’ve been passed over for a job or opportunity because they were pregnant. People who see a path for growth in their organization are nearly 2x as likely to be highly engaged, 56% more likely to be happy at work, and 56% more likely to have a sense of meaning and purpose at work.

6. Gratitude and recognition: Here’s where the opportunities for improving the human experience at work come together. Employees recognized in the last month are 3x less likely to report feeling unsafe at work, more than 2x as likely to see a path to grow in the organization, and nearly 2x as likely to trust their HR team. And giving frequent recognition can be just as powerful.

These topics challenge what Eric calls “surface-level appreciation.” He continues, “To really embrace the concept of thanking employees for their hard work and effort throughout the year, appreciation is a mindset HR and people managers need to embrace all the time. It’s a whole new management strategy, based on gratitude, fit for the workplace of the future.”

The findings in “The State of Humanity at Work” are a call to action for all us to leverage the data and insist on a better experience for all.

To read the full report, click here.

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About the Author

Sarah Payne

Sarah is managing editor at Workhuman. When not writing about all things culture, leadership, recognition, and appreciation, she enjoys iced coffee, running, and spending time with her daughter, Mabel.

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