What, me worry? The Emotional State of Employees

In Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace study, it’s reported that employees in the US and Canada are increasingly worried and stressed at work:

  • 41% report worrying daily
  • 50% report daily stress
  • 18% feel anger every day
  • 22% report feeling sad every day

Today’s employees are acutely aware of the way in which their employer functions in the world, and actively look for companies that share their values. Generation Z (1995-2010) is the age group most concerned about sustainability and want to work for companies that protect the environment. Likewise, as consumers, Gen Z’s choose sustainable products over recognized brand names.

What are employers doing to address the emotional state of their employees?

Similar to the Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives we covered in a previous post, People, Planet and Prosperity goals also play a role. The “people” component ensures that employees can fulfill their potential with dignity and equality in a healthy environment. This is often addressed through employee reward and recognition programs that, when structured effectively, clearly communicate company values and expectations.

Forward-thinking companies are including wellness and safety components in their employee programs. In fact, some are taking the next step from “wellness” to “wellbeing”, incorporating stress-reduction, anger management and other counseling resources into their programs.

Employees stay where they feel valued and appreciated. Turnover is expensive for any size organization, so companies are taking steps to keep their key talent. The Gallup study also reports on employee’s beliefs about the current job market. The Great Resignation is a real threat:

  • 71% of employees feel that now is a good time to find a job
  • 20% would move for a new job
  • 51% are living comfortably on their present income

Company leaders understand that managers make a difference. Employees don’t often leave companies, they leave managers. Most great managers are not born…they are made. Through effective training, managers can become more empathetic, collaborative and find creative, personalized solutions for employee concerns. There is a value to conducting “stay conversations” (the opposite of an Exit Interview). These 2-way exchanges reveal what is important to the employee, they can share their career goals and what they feel they need to be more successful in their role in the organization.

To get started structuring employee programs that address the emotional wellbeing of employees while achieving company goals and objectives, contact one of our Incentive Professionals today!


In economic terms, the multiplier effect refers to the proportional increase or decrease in final income that results from an injection or withdrawal of capital. In terms of Safety Reward Programs, the multiplier effect might refer to the ROI² (Return on Incentive Investment). A properly structured program significantly impacts overall employee engagement and safety culture, where employees are attuned to safety-related issues, inspired to display “Above & Beyond” safe behaviors, willing to be safety ambassadors, and encouraged to promote learning and support continuous improvement. Such best-in-class programs are designed to promote group objectives and reward individual behavior, engaging, motivating, and rewarding the people behind your success.

Fortunately, there are thousands of companies in high-risk industries that have excellent safety programming, training, and coaching in place. Many include safety in their list of core values and have invested heavily in EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) technology, training, telematics, and personnel. However, too many miss the opportunity to incentivize and recognize individual safety contributions, behaviors, and performance.

Programs featuring tangible and experiential awards as the reward currency can have a multiplying effect that pays dividends. Benefits include a more highly engaged workforce, fewer accidents and incidents, reduced claims and losses, lower turnover and absenteeism, better communication, increased productivity, visibility to leading and lagging indicators, incremental coaching and training opportunities, and improved profitability.

So, what’s the rub? Are engagement programs focused on employee safety, health, and wellness expensive to implement? Do they only make sense for companies with thousands of safety-sensitive workers? The answer to both questions is no. Properly structured programs can be cost-effective and right-sized for companies with as few as 100 safety-sensitive workers up to those with 10,000 or more. The ROI² of these programs can be expressed as a ratio (in this case, 4:1), with quantitative results showing a savings of $4.00 for every $1.00 invested and qualitative results revealing higher employee morale, which serves as a catalyst for productivity. Safety Reward Programs help to mitigate risk, elevate employee engagement, and improve overall safety culture. They also present an excellent opportunity for companies to simply say thank you to their employees for being safe, committed, and engaged.

People have an inherent need to know that their efforts do not go unnoticed. Safety Reward Programs provide the stimulus and energy that encourage employees to perform at their best and achieve new heights.

Brian Galonek


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