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Employee Intranet

Employee engagement in the era of the Great Gloom

Togo team


Syntphony Employee Intranet Insights Team at NTT DATA

Over the past decade, the world has witnessed a series of emerging trends in the workplace. Phenomena such as quiet quitting, where employees exert only the minimum required effort, and bare minimum Mondays, symbolizing a growing disconnection with work, have set the tone for a new era in the dynamics of labor. These trends point to an underlying discontent in the employer-employee relationship, where disconnection and lack of engagement have become more apparent.

In 2024, we face a new and greater challenge: the Great Gloom. This trend is a prevalent phenomenon in the workplace that underscores the growing “unhappiness” of employees, jeopardizing their well-being at work. In this context, internal communication and employee experience play a crucial role. Companies worldwide are recognizing the need to combat this unhappiness by prioritizing a work environment that focuses not only on productivity but also on workplace culture, mental health, and work-life balance, among other important factors.

This article will explore different initiatives that are transforming the workplace and counteracting the impact of the Great Gloom.

The employee within this new paradigm

Recent studies indicate a concerning trend: employee happiness has been on the decline. According to a 2024 report by Gallup, since early 2023, this decline has been 10 times faster than in previous years. This drop in happiness is not an isolated phenomenon but is part of a broader context characterized by the Great Gloom, a growing disconnect and demotivation in the workplace.

Gallup reports that 80% of Americans are generally dissatisfied with “the way things are going,” while the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that Britons are less happy and more anxious now than before the pandemic.

 

This global challenge demands that companies not only focus on tangible aspects such as salaries and benefits but also on intangibles such as work environment and personal development. Creating a happy workplace is crucial for various reasons. According to the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, happy workers outperform their less satisfied counterparts by 13% in productivity. Furthermore, employees who find meaning in their work often receive more promotions and salary increases, demonstrating that job satisfaction has direct implications for productivity and engagement.

 

On the other hand, Gallup also emphasizes that companies with engaged employees report higher profits, lower turnover rates, and absenteeism compared to those with dissatisfied employees. In fact, workplace disengagement results in a global productivity loss estimated at $8.8 trillion, equivalent to 9% of the world’s GDP.

Given this reality, it becomes imperative for organizations to reassess and renew their human talent management strategies. Investing in employee happiness and well-being has gained more importance than ever. 

In this new paradigm, thriving companies are the ones that recognize the well-being of their workers as a fundamental aspect for collective success.

Initiatives to enhance employee happiness and engagement

Facing the challenge of the Great Gloom, it is essential to proactively adopt initiatives that counteract the causes of workplace unhappiness while addressing the complexity of employee engagement. Here are some initiatives being implemented by leading companies to transform their work environments:

Personalized well-being: 
 

Salesforce offers Camp B-Well, a program providing well-being and mental health resources tailored to the individual needs of its employees. These resources include access to therapy, mindfulness programs, and physical activities, highlighting the company’s commitment to prioritizing mental and physical health care.

Professional development: 
 

Microsoft has introduced Microsoft Garage, a program allowing employees to work on projects they are passionate about, even outside their official roles. This initiative aims to drive innovation and increase employee engagement and satisfaction by enabling them to explore new areas and apply their skills creatively and autonomously.

Positive work environment: 
 

Netflix has gained recognition for its approach to managing its workplace culture, centered around its Freedom and Responsibility policy. This policy is based on several fundamental pillars, such as flexible schedules and unlimited vacation. Netflix does not track the hours worked by its employees and offers an unlimited vacation policy, allowing workers to take time off when needed, as long as their work is up to date. This policy is grounded in individual responsibility and aims to promote a healthy balance between work and personal life.

Enhanced internal communication: 
 

Google has implemented the GRAD program (Googler Reviews and Development), promoting a culture of open and constructive feedback. This program allows employees to express their opinions and receive transparent feedback, strengthening trust and improving communication between teams and managers. According to Google, such initiatives enhance clarity, reduce misunderstandings, and foster a more inclusive and respectful work environment.

Use of analytics in internal communication: 
 

Linked to the previous point, the implementation of analytics in a company’s internal communication channels allows for the analysis of platform usage. This involves understanding topics that generate the most interest among employees, identifying areas where specific communication can be more effective, and more. This information enables adjustments to internal communications, making them more relevant and engaging for employees, thereby enhancing the overall employee experience. For further insights on the importance of analytics in internal communication platforms, check out the following article.

In conclusion, a new challenge for companies is addressing the Great Gloom by implementing initiatives that aim to personalize the work experience, foster professional development, cultivate a more positive work culture, and empower their employees. With these initiatives, the goal is to pave the way for a future of work where well-being and professional progress go hand in hand, promoting an enriching work dynamic for both employees and companies.

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