A Pervasive Issue
In a groundbreaking revelation, HP Inc. unveiled its inaugural HP Work Relationship Index, signifying a pivotal moment in our understanding of the world’s relationship with work. This monumental study, spanning 12 countries and encompassing over 15,600 respondents from various industries, compellingly exposes a global workforce teetering on the brink, with far-reaching consequences for individuals and organizations alike.
Striving for a Balanced Work-Life Harmony
Enrique Lores, President and CEO of HP Inc., articulated the profound impact of this research, stating,
“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. As leaders, we must always reject the false choice between productivity and happiness. The most successful companies are built on cultures that enable employees to excel in their careers while thriving outside of work.”
A Struggle for Balance
The study scrutinized over 50 aspects of individuals’ relationships with work, encompassing the role of work in their lives, skills, tools, workspaces, and leadership expectations. It also probed the influence of work on employee well-being, productivity, engagement, and corporate culture.
As a result, HP developed the Work Relationship Index, a measure to track the world’s relationship with work over time. Alarmingly, only 27% of knowledge workers currently enjoy a healthy work relationship.
The Toll of Unhealthy Work Relationships
Unhealthy work relationships, the study reveals, inflict severe damage on employees’ mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Morale and engagement plummet, with 34% reporting decreased productivity, 39% feeling disengaged, and 38% experiencing disconnection. Retention is at stake as well, with 71% contemplating leaving when indifferent to their work relationship, soaring to 91% when they are unhappy.
Profound Effects on Mental, Emotional, and Physical Health
The toll extends to employees’ well-being. Over half (55%) grapple with self-worth and mental well-being challenges, suffering from low self-esteem and feelings of failure.
Emotionally, personal relationships with friends and family also suffer for 45%, and 59% find themselves too drained to pursue personal passions. Physically, 62% face difficulties maintaining healthy eating, exercising, and getting adequate sleep.
Identifying the Catalysts for a Healthy Work Relationship
The study reveals that employees’ work expectations have undergone significant transformation in recent years, with 60% of respondents noting these shifts. Expectations concerning how they are treated at work and in the workplace have similarly risen, as acknowledged by 57% of those surveyed.
Six Drivers of a Healthy Work Relationship
Among the myriad factors contributing to a healthy work relationship, the research identifies six core drivers demanding attention and action from business leaders:
- Fulfillment: Only 29% of knowledge workers experience consistent purpose, empowerment, and genuine connection to their work, highlighting the need for businesses to prioritize employee fulfillment.
- Leadership: While 68% of business leaders recognize the need for new leadership styles, only one in five workers feels leaders have evolved accordingly. Emotional intelligence and transparent, empathetic leadership are critical for today’s workplace.
- People-centricity: Just 25% of knowledge workers consistently feel respected and valued, with even fewer enjoying the flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance they seek. Putting people first and involving teams in decision-making is imperative.
- Skills: Although 70% of knowledge workers value strong technical skills, only 31% consistently feel confident in their proficiency. Investing in holistic training and support can provide a competitive edge.
- Tools: Today’s workers desire a say in the technology and tools provided by their employers. However, only 25% are confident that companies will implement the right tools for hybrid work, making technology a key driver of employee engagement.
- Workspace: Seamless work experiences across different locations and choices in work settings are vital. Effective hybrid workspaces, flexibility, and autonomy foster trust in employees and enhance the work experience.
Trust and Emotional Connection in the Workplace
The Work Relationship Index emphatically underscores the imperative need to redefine global relationships with work. Remarkably, trust and emotional connection consistently emerge as recurring themes across the six core drivers.
It’s worth noting that a staggering 83% of employees express their willingness to forgo higher pay in favor of finding an employer that genuinely values emotional intelligence and fosters increased trust and agency.
Factors That Matter to Employees
- A strong workplace culture is worth an 11% pay cut if it includes empathetic, emotionally intelligent leadership and above-average engagement and fulfillment.
- Flexibility is equally vital, with employees willing to sacrifice 13% of their salary for the freedom to choose where and when they work.
HP’s research journey was conducted through an online survey skillfully managed by Edelman Data & Intelligence (DxI) in 12 countries. Taking place from June 9 to July 10, 2023, this extensive survey meticulously gathered insights from a substantial pool of 15,624 respondents, comprising 12,012 knowledge workers, 2,408 IT decision-makers, and 1,204 business leaders.
HP Inc. is a global technology leader, diligently fostering innovation, sustainability, and personal connectivity. Operating across 170 countries, HP offers an extensive array of innovative devices, services, and subscriptions. This expansive portfolio spans personal computing, printing, 3D printing, hybrid work, gaming, and much more.