Leaders Play Critical Role in Relieving Unhappiness in Workplace

Unhappy Employees

Wishing this was a happier story…


Unhappiness has been increasing globally for a decade, according to the Gallup Organization, and its rise has been missed by almost every world leader. That’s because while leaders pay close attention to measures like GDP or unemployment, almost none of them track their citizens’ well-being.


And, according to author Jon Clifton, the implications of this blind spot are significant and far-reaching — leaders missed the citizen unhappiness that triggered events ranging from the Arab uprisings to Brexit to the election of Donald Trump.


Grounded in Gallup’s global research, Clifton’s new book, “Blind Spot” makes the urgent case that leaders in business, as well as government, should measure and quantify well-being and happiness — how people’s lives are going. It also shows them how to do just that and discusses the five key elements of a great life and where the world needs to improve in each of them to better the lives of people everywhere.


Similarly in the workplace, Gallup’s overall well-being metrics can track struggling, suffering, and thriving rates among employees, and measure how strongly U.S. employees believe that their organization cares about their well-being.


Today, only 24% of workers strongly agree that their organization cares about their well-being, which should be of great concern to leaders given that these employees are 69% less likely than all other workers to search for a new job. At the same time, 71% of these workers are less likely to report experiencing burnout, and five times more likely to serve as an advocate for their organization.


Leaders can implement tangible steps to ensure employees feel that their well-being is cared about. Based on Gallup research, here are several high-impact ideas for driving this critical belief system in the workplace.


  • Promote, destigmatize, and “opt-out” company EAP programs.
  • Include family members in well-being programs and activities.
  • Provide easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the workplace.
  • Offer to help employees manage their finances.
  • Encourage employees to share their own ideas about boosting well-being.
  • Help employees find safe places to exercise and incentivize them to do so.
  • Provide nutritional cooking classes for all employees, at no cost.
  • Recognize employees for their well-being achievements.

At All Star Incentive Marketing, we believe routine recognition is a critically important psychological need in the workplace and is a proven driver of an array of business outcomes. Making it part of an organization’s well-being culture will incentivize employees to pursue choices that support high well-being and reinforce that their company cares about their pursuits. 


Only through specific and sustained action can employers reinvent their culture to build a workforce that is productive, healthy, and feels its well-being is cared about.

Brian Galonek

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