Welcome to The Globe and Mail's Your Life at Work Survey, done in conjunction with Howatt HR Consulting. Click here to take our survey, measure your stress levels, find out your Quality of Work Life (QWL) score and determine whether you're able to cope. The scenario below will help to explain why we are launching this survey:
Kristine, a manager at the ABC factory, walks past Jack and says, "Good night, Jack. Have a good one."
Jack puts his head down and grunts, "Ah, another exhausting shift. You managers are too demanding," and shuffles out the door, looking weary and exhausted.
Kristine then turns and notices Jill, who pleasantly meets her gaze with a big smile. Kristine repeats her goodwill gesture, "Good night. Jill. Have a good one." Jill continues to smile, head up, and says, "Thank you. And you have wonderful night, too." She leaves the building with a bounce in her step.
Kristine wonders how it is possible that shift partners Jack and Jill have such different outlooks in the same workplace. Kristine guesses that, on his employee engagement survey, Jack most likely reported a lack of trust between management and employees, poor communication, and high work demand. She further assumes, based on her experience with Jack, that his current level of job satisfaction is low.
For Jill, Kristine predicts that she may have some concerns about management communication and at times agree with Jack that workload demands are high. But she is convinced that Jill's job satisfaction score is higher. Kristine is interested in keeping her employees happy and cares about their health. However, she feels perplexed and can't explain the difference in attitude between Jack and Jill.
Employee engagement surveys help managers like Kristine to understand the most prominent job stressors their staff face and the current level of their engagement. A low engagement score often results in senior management demanding their managers improve these scores – but they don't say how to make this happen.
How does a manager make an employee like Jack feel better about work?
Many employees may know they are unhappy, but they may not know what they need to change – or ask from their employers – to improve their life at work.
There is lots of evidence that shows there is a link between an employee's health and how productive they'll be. But most engagement surveys simply do not provide any insight into the difference in coping skills between Jack and Jill, and how that is affecting their health. In the case of Jack, his current health risk – both physically (like high blood pressure) and psychologically (like addiction) – would not be assessed.
For managers like Kristine, who are truly interested in the health and well-being of their employees – knowing that this can have an impact on the company's bottom line – there is a new tool that looks beyond whether an employee is engaged at work or not.
This new tool not only measures what employees are stressed by at work and whether they are engaged, it also measures employees' health and coping skills.
It also lets employees gauge how effective their coping skills are, and where they stand in comparison to other employees across Canada.
Welcome to The Globe and Mail's Your Work at Life survey, done in conjunction with Howatt HR Consulting.
This survey takes a look at four themes that affect your life at work: what causes you stress; what's the effect of that stress on you and your health; how you cope or don't cope with that stress; and how does this influence your commitment to your job and your organization.
The four themes come together in our Quality of Work Life (QWL) Risk score. The higher your score on the risk index, the greater your risk for a slew of health-related issues.
This study will help managers to understand the differences between employees and provide insight into how they cope with stress that not only affects employee engagement levels but also mental and physical health. And it will let employees take stock of where they stand right now and see how their life and work stress is affecting them.
There is ample literature that supports the correlation between stress and health. Employees experiencing higher levels of stress are less likely to be engaged and perform at their full potential each day at work. Just type into Google the term "presenteeism" and you'll discover what it costs employers if their staff arrive at work not feeling healthy and ready to work.
So who are you? Are you a Jack or are you a Jill? Do you know why?
Click on the title to take our Your Life at Work Survey and see where you stand. Then check out our inforgraphic that tells you what your QWL Score means.
Employers can take our Employer version of the survey to rate their employees' stress and coping skills.
Employers can also fill out our Cost of Doing Nothing Calculator to gauge how much it costs them if their employees aren't coming to work ready to give it their all.
Watch a video of Bill Howatt explaining the survey and our goals.
Click here to get a list of ways to help reduce your stress.