The Work Happiness Score and work happiness survey are now the Work Wellbeing Score and work wellbeing survey, respectively. Learn more and access our most up-to-date resources.

Since the launch of the Indeed Workplace Wellbeing Score last year, Indeed has been committed to better understand workplace happiness and wellbeing. The past two years have forever changed how companies look at employee wellbeing. Job market changes enabled workers to reflect on their priorities and, as a result, they simply expect more from work.

Wellbeing is no longer a nice-to-have at work, according to Indeed’s 2022 Work Wellbeing Insights Report. It’s now a must-have and employers need to consider it as a true business strategy that boosts performance, increases retention and talent attraction, and reduces burnout. 

To better understand shifting perceptions around work wellbeing, Indeed commissioned Forrester Research to survey more than 2,546 Canadians. The results reveal what people are seeking from their workplaces and what companies can do to meet their needs. Let’s dig in…

Workers demand more from their employers — and fair pay is only one slice of the pie

Fair pay is consistently at the top of the list when it comes to what employees say they want. Companies that value their employees compensate them equitably for their labor. However, fair pay is just the starting point; it will attract someone but it won’t keep them happy or thriving. Other factors like stress, lack of satisfaction and unhappiness are taking on greater weight than they did prior to the pandemic. 

The average person spends about a third of their life at work. And the data shows that they want that third to be more positive and more meaningful. When comparing year-over-year numbers, 34% of those surveyed say their expectations for happiness at work have increased over the past 12 months. When we look at the number one reasons people seek new opportunities, we see that 44% of people report pay as the driving factor, followed by stress (26%), dissatisfaction (23%) and unhappiness (22%). Workers are no longer settling for situations that don’t benefit them — they’re quicker to look for greener pastures.

How people feel about work impacts their entire life, and companies should care about that. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed, 85%, believe that work should provide more than just a paycheck. 

Stress can be a morale killer for workers, but not all stress is bad

When employees are constantly faced with stress and not encouraged to prioritize their wellbeing, their passion for delivering on goals eventually takes a hit. Those long hours plugging away at the keyboard, waiting tables or grading papers leads to decreased motivation, which leads to more mistakes and poor performance. In the survey, 58% of workers felt that sustained stress “debilitates performance and productivity.” 

A chronically stressed employee is likely to have trouble learning or growing (52% of those surveyed say so), and that leads to employees wanting to leave the organization. When stressed at work, 52% of employees lose the ability to concentrate, 45% make more errors and 33% are more likely to “express themselves poorly” at work by snapping at colleagues or speaking more aggressively.

One caveat: Not all stress is created equal. There’s positive stress (sometimes referred to as eustress) and negative stress (also known as distress). With proper leadership and the right mindset, a worker can view a healthy amount of stress as a challenge to be embraced, becoming three times more likely to stay focused and accomplish more in a short span of time. Negative stress can result from poor relationships or poor communication with management and colleagues, and its impact can be toxic and debilitating, driving workers to disengage with their jobs.

Employers should treat wellbeing as a success metric

The data shows that happy workers equal better workers, and employers that treat workplace wellbeing as an afterthought do so at their own peril. Yet many companies don’t actively prioritize it. Only 39% of those surveyed felt their organization is measuring happiness and wellbeing. For companies that do measure happiness and wellbeing, those employees are 78% more likely to stick around for the next year. Employee dissatisfaction has a material cost, not just to workers but to the overall success of the business. 

With the guidance of happiness and wellbeing experts, Indeed collects and shares key insights around employee wellbeing on employer profiles across Indeed. Why do we do this? Because 77% of job seekers look for information about employee wellbeing when they are considering a job opportunity. 

When employers cultivate a culture of wellbeing, everyone wins 

But where do you begin? You can’t manage what you don’t measure. So the first step is to start measuring employee wellbeing. Conduct internal wellbeing surveys periodically to get a read on how employees feel, or analyze your company’s work wellbeing data on Indeed to get a snapshot.

A second move is to train and leverage your managers. Manager action or inaction can be a driving force for worker satisfaction. Only 40% of those surveyed said their managers create actionable plans to reduce workplace stress.

Finally, build your understanding of what drives wellbeing. Indeed measures four key indicators of wellbeing — happiness, stress, satisfaction and purpose. We also look at key drivers such as “foundational needs,” which are aspects like fair pay, flexibility and trust; “social needs” like belonging, inclusion, support and appreciation, and being well-managed; and “growth needs” such as learning, achievement and being energized by your work. By examining all of these holistically, you’ll have a better idea of where your organization stands.  

Employers have options and resources when it comes to reducing stress and supporting wellbeing, and by taking proactive steps to measure and manage worker satisfaction, companies can embed wellbeing into their culture, ultimately attracting great talent and benefiting from increased productivity and retention. And that makes work work for everyone.