Just 27% of employees have a 'healthy' relationship with work

Toxic work relationships are impacting productivity, engagement, and retention

Just 27% of employees have a 'healthy' relationship with work

Only about a quarter of employees have a healthy relationship with their work - and it's negatively affecting organizations, according to a new report from HP. The HP Work Relationship Index surveyed over 15,600 respondents from 12 markets to find that only 27% of knowledge workers say they have a healthy relationship at with work.

Broken down nationally, employees from India had the highest rate of employees saying they have a healthy relationship with work at 50%.

Japan, on the other hand, had the least with only five per cent. Other nations reported the following figures:

  • Indonesia (38%)
  • Brazil (37%)
  • Mexico (34%)
  • United States (28%)
  • United Kingdom (25%)
  • Canada (23%)
  • Australia (22%)
  • France (21%)
  • Germany (21%)
  • Spain (20%)

"Overall, the relationship is healthier in emerging economies than in some of the more mature markets, all of which – except the US by one point – score at or below the global average of 27%," the report said.

Impact on employees, organisations

According to the report, having an unhealthy relationship with their work can have consequences on employees and the organisation as whole.

Knowledge workers who are not happy with their work reported less productivity (34%), more disengagement (39%), as well as greater feelings of disconnection (38%).

They are also more likely to say that they are thinking of leaving the company (76%), according to the report. They are also not likely to recommend their organisation as a great place to work (24%).

Changing expectations, priorities

According to the report, employees' expectations at work have changed significantly over the past two to three years.

"With all that's transpired over the past few years, workers see this as an opportunity to redefine their relationship with work – and what that would mean for them and their organizations," the report said.

In fact, 83% of employees surveyed said they are willing to earn less if it means loving their work more.

"For the vast majority, the personal satisfaction that comes from a healthy relationship with work means they would give up a portion of their salary," the report said.

How to build a healthy relationship with work?

Enrique Lores, President and CEO of HP Inc., said there is still a "huge opportunity" to improve the world's relationship with work.

"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," Lores said in a media release.

According to the report, there are six core drivers that could improve employees' relationships with their work. They include:

  • Fulfillment. Employers must prioritise employee fulfillment through increased voice and agency as employees seek purpose and empowerment at work.
  • Leadership. Fostering emotional intelligence as well as a transparent and empathetic leadership is crucial as majority of employees don't see leadership styles evolving.
  • People-centricity. Put people at the centre of decision making as only a quarter of employees feel they get respect and value at work.
  • Skills. Invest in holistic training and support as only 31% of employees consistently feel confident a work.
  • Tools. Equip staff with inclusive tech tools as employees don't feel confident their employers are providing the right equipment.
  • Workspace. Providing hybrid workspaces, flexibility, and autonomy at work is also important in showing trust in employees.