Korn Ferry: Stress levels have risen by 20 per cent

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According to research by executive search firm Korn Ferry across 50 countries, motivation is missing for hundreds of millions of workers around the world. It is replaced by stress: Employee stress levels have risen nearly 20 per cent in three decades. 

In the United States alone, only 30 per cent of workers say they are highly engaged in their jobs. Worldwide, the numbers are even more distressing. According to a 2017 study by Gallup, just 15 per cent of workers say they are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace.

All this stress depresses initiative, which in turn curtails innovation, says Guangrong Dai, senior director of the Korn Ferry Institute. Leaders therefore need to reduce those stress levels and tap into the “intrinsic” motivation of a worker. “When people feel intrinsically motivated, they don’t have to be enticed or rewarded in order to work hard, because they find reward in the work itself,” Dai says in the new Korn Ferry report “The Case for Motivation”.  After all, 76 per cent of people who exceed expectations on the job say they are intrinsically motivated, according to a Korn Ferry survey of workers at nearly 400 organisations around the world.

 The report outlines how workers can build agility and resilience to stress, as well as how leaders can restructure firms to dismantle the anxiety-causing top-down corporate structures and eliminate authoritarian leadership styles. All the moves revolve around satisfying an employee’s three intrinsic needs: having personal autonomy, feeling competent, and having a purpose. 



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