“It’s not an exaggeration to say that in the world of work today, society is at an era-defining crossroads: the meeting of where, why, how and who,” the report from HP reads. “Launched for the first time this year, this global study offers a new way for society to monitor, measure, and gain insights into how employees in various industries around the world feel, what they want, why they crave more satisfying work experiences, and how organizations and their leaders must adapt to meet growing expectations.”
The findings reveal that 77% of Canadian knowledge workers do not have a healthy relationship with work, slightly more than global average of 73%.
This poses a big problem in and out of the workplace, HP warns.
“When work has a negative impact on employees emotionally and physically, employees eat poorly, exercise less, toss and turn at night, gain weight, struggle with their mental health, feel like failures, feel isolated, and more,” the report reads.
Businesses also struggle: “Productivity, morale, connection and engagement diminish when relationships with work are unhealthy, leading to increasing challenges with employee retention.” Knowledge workers report less productivity (34%) and greater feelings of disconnection (38%).
There is growing demand for more satisfying and rewarding work, even if those rewards aren’t tied to financial compensation. 84% of Canadians are willing to earn less if it means loving work more—a figure that rises to 92% for younger generations.
“There is a huge opportunity to strengthen the world’s relationship with work in ways that are both good for people and good for business,” stated Enrique Lores, CEO of HP.
With an unhealthy relationship with work, 46% of knowledge workers in Canada look to switch jobs and 40% are less productive at work, according to data from the Index. Negative impacts of unhealthy work conditions have affected tech talent’s physical health (69%), mental well-being (62%), and relationships (51%).
“We must always reject the false choice between productivity and happiness,” Lores said.
Based on a global study of business leaders, knowledge workers, and IT decision-makers, the Work Relationship Index identifies six primary drivers of a healthy relationship with work. Each of the six drivers foster action and can help employees build a better relationship with work, according to the report.
These drivers are:
- Fulfillment: Purpose, meaning and empowerment at work. To adapt to evolving workforce expectations, businesses must prioritize employee fulfillment through increased voice and agency, HP says.
- Leadership: Empathy and emotional connection from those in charge. Cultivating emotional intelligence and transparent, empathetic leadership is crucial for today’s workplace, according to the report.
- People-centricity: Decision-making with people at the heart. Leaders should put visible emphasis on putting people first and placing their teams at the centre of decisions.
- Skills: Confidence-building by tapping into the enthusiasm employees have for learning new skills; invest in holistic training and support.
- Tools: The right technology to drive employee engagement. No longer just a utility, tech is emerging as an important driver of employee engagement, connection, and enablement.
- Workspace: Knowledge workers want a seamless experience as they move between work locations. Effective hybrid workspaces, flexibility, and autonomy will be pivotal in demonstrating trust in employees and fostering a positive work experience.
In terms of succeeding at the six drivers, Canada falls short on several.
For example, the country ranked “Below Average” on areas of career fulfilment and companies having empathic employers. Canada performed “Average” elsewhere, such as People-Centricity and Skills, but did not score “Above Average” in any category and ranks below average overall across all six drivers of job satisfaction, the Index shows.
Canadian employers therefore have some work to do in order to fulfill their tech talent beyond offering a decent salary.
“The most successful companies are built on cultures that enable employees to excel in their careers while thriving outside of work,” Lores believes.