Executives' Work Satisfaction & Experience Drops to Record Lows—Middle Managers Still Suffering the Most
The Fall 2022 Future Forum Pulse survey results are out with some very interesting findings.
Executive scores for overall work satisfaction dropped 15% over the last year. In addition, executives reported a 20% worse work-life balance and 40% more work-related stress and anxiety year over year. Although executives reported worsening scores no matter what size the company, those at the largest organizations had more pronounced changes for the worse than those at small and midsize businesses.
What's driving this decline?
Leaders have been facing a mountain of obstacles over the last year—everything from contractions in economic activities (macroeconomic stress) to rapidly rising costs, supply chain issues, and new challenges caused by shifting workplace expectations that stem from remote and hybrid work during the pandemic.
Tales of Caution
Highlighted in this blog are four tales of caution for executives and non-executive leaders that come out of the report:
1) Remote & hybrid work
Executives and other non-executive leaders and workers have different perspectives, experiences, and desires about remote work versus in-office time.
While the majority of both embrace some version of a remote/hybrid model, executives report wanting to spend more time in the office and less time remotely than non-executives.
What the pie chart doesn't show at first glance is that 76% of non-executives want to work in the office less than three days per week while only 62% of executives want that type of remote or hybrid work schedule. In addition to that, non-executives are more than three times as likely as their bosses to want to work fully remotely.
2) Workforce policy planning strategies
A time-proven strategy in change management is to involve stakeholders in the process and gain their input.
However, the report states that 60% of executives surveyed said that they’re designing their companies’ workforce policies with little or no direct input from employees. So, if executives are only talking to each other, a key voice for buy-in is being missed increasing the risk for resistance and for losing the talent retention battle.
What the data tells us about metrics & remote/hybrid work
If you're thinking that the hybrid or remote model will only drive down metrics, consider this from the report:
Individual contributors have seen gains, including 6% year-over-year gains for productivity, 11% gains for work-life balance, 12% more overall satisfaction with work, and 25% lower stress and anxiety.
And while 80% of global desk-based workers say they want location flexibility, 94% say they want schedule flexibility. Those workers who have full schedule flexibility report 29% higher productivity than workers with no ability to shift their schedule. They also report 53% greater ability to focus.
3) Middle managers still suffering the most
While executives' index scores dropped the most year over year, they are still reporting the highest scores overall compared to non-executives and individual contributors.
The leaders with the lowest overall scores for sentiment and experience are middle managers, particularly middle managers at the largest companies. Middle managers score the lowest and struggle with work-life balance and have the highest levels of stress and anxiety.
Burnout rose the most in the United States where 43% of desk workers reported feeling burned out.
Women were 32% more likely than men to report experiencing burnout.
And, nearly half of all 18- 29 year-olds said they feel burned out. Compare that to the 30+ age group in which only 38% felt burned out.
In times of disruption, leaders can either lean in and learn new skills or fall back on what worked for them—often decades ago. But two generations of digital natives have now entered the workplace. Workforces are more diverse, and there’s an
Executive Leader of Future Forum
Lean in and learn new skills
As Brian points out above, it's time to lean in and learn new skills. If you're thinking about returning to the old way, it's time to rethink that direction.
Leaders and individual contributors alike are facing a new and shifting landscape. You can't devise your future strategies by looking to the past. The future of work is flexible, equitable and inclusive, connected and collaborative, connected to deeper meaning and purpose, and most of all, constantly changing.
Coaching can help.
Coaching gives you a safe and confidential space to work through issues such as these by helping you clarify the issues for you, setting goals, and strategizing your best path forward. Coaching can hep you increase your leadership effectiveness and help you to achieve success and greater fulfillment.
I am offering 50% off all coaching bundles through the end of the year.
Starting coaching during the holiday season and as the year ends may not be practical. I get that. That's why you may want to have your discovery conversation and buy your coaching bundle now and then get started with coaching in the New Year.
Impactful change starts with a conversation!
Schedule your free, one-hour session by clicking here: Discovery Conversation with Alan
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Have an amazing journey today!
Alan Mikolaj is a coach and leadership development consultant with 15+ years of experience. He is passionate about helping leaders transform their leadership, their teams, and their organizations. Impactful, professional approach driven by a passion for meaning and purpose, a growth mindset, and a commitment to excellence and service in order to drive change and results.
Alan maintains the ethics and standards of behavior established by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), including the standards regarding confidentiality. You can learn more about them on the ICF website.
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
Free Discovery Conversation!
Impactful change starts with a conversation! Schedule your free, one-hour session by clicking here: Discovery Conversation with Alan
Or call or email: Contact Page
In his third book, A Travel Guide to Leadership, Alan offers you simple, fundamental, and powerful lessons that have the power to transform you, your relationships, and your career.