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Indian employees 'not thriving' in life, but engaged at work: Gallup survey

As many as 28% Indians said they were stressed compared to regional and global averages of 31% and 43%, respectively.

Indian employees reported 25% engagement at work compared to the south Asian average of 24% and the global average of 20%. Indian employees reported 25% engagement at work compared to the south Asian average of 24% and the global average of 20%.

The Indian workforce is not thriving in their life even though they reported better levels of engagement at work compared to global averages in 2020, according to a latest study by American survey firm Gallup.

For the 'thriving' metric, the survey asked respondents which step they would consider themselves to be on in life in an imaginary ladder of 10 steps with the top of the ladder representing the best possible life and the bottom representing the worst. Respondents who rated seven or above were considered to be thriving in life.

While the global average is 32%, the south Asian workforce (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) reported the lowest regional life evaluation at 21%. Within the grouping, only 14% Indians said they were thriving, Gallup's State of the Global Workplace found.

Nordic countries - Finland (85%), Denmark (79%), Iceland (76%), Sweden (71%) and Norway (69%) - and the Netherlands (76%) have the highest life evaluations in the world.

On the other hand, Indian employees reported 25% engagement at work. While this is still low, Indians fared better compared to the south Asian average of 24% and the global average of 20%. The metric reflects the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace.

Noting that experiences outside work greatly affect work itself as the past year showed clearly, the report said: "Employees who are engaged but not thriving typically feel high levels of stress, worry, anger and sadness, despite their positive experiences at work. These emotions are all bellwethers of burnout. But, when employees are engaged and thriving, the risk of burnout declines sharply," said the report.

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The Indian workforce is also experiencing a lot of these negative emotions.  

As many as 46% employees reported daily worry, 33% said they experienced daily anger and 37% said they were sad compared to the global averages of 41%, 24% and 25%, respectively. However, fewer Indians are stressed, according to the report. As many as 28% Indians said they were stressed compared to regional and global averages of 31% and 43%, respectively.

The survey report pointed out that leaders and managers at every level should address this as it could lead to increased burnout, upset the workforce and cause disengagement. Gallup estimates that low employee engagement costs the global economy $8.1 trillion.

Regional director (research and analytics for APAC) Puneet Singh said there is a huge business case to work on employee well-being but cautioned against over reliance on policies alone. "You can't dictate culture. An organisation's managers, and not just the leaders, are the key drivers of the change."

"The responsibilities of a manager in the past versus what they will be in the future are very different. Apart from talking to direct reports about everyday work, they need to function like coaches. Organisations need to do more to train and equip managers better to transition into their new roles," said Rohit Kar, Gallup's managing consultant APAC and head of India sales.

The US-based firm surveyed more than 1,18,350 respondents from 116 countries. In India, 9,400 respondents were surveyed during 2020.

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