BambooHR®, the leading cloud-hosted software for the strategic evolution of human resources, launches today its first-ever Employee Happiness Index, a quarterly benchmark report that analyzes eNPS or employee satisfaction results from 57,000+ global workers across eight key industries.
The first report shows eNPS scores have declined steadily, despite both highs and lows since 2020. In fact, since June 2020, the average eNPS has decreased by 16%. When looking at just the last year, overall eNPS fell 11% from June 2022 to June 2023, deteriorating at a rate nearly 15x faster than the previous two years combined—showing employee happiness is worse now than during Covid. It’s possible the end of the Great Resignation is signaling a Great Gloom, as options for better jobs dwindle, remote work sputters, and record inflation chokes pay.
The report also measures how employee satisfaction changes month over month. While 2020’s dramatic swings were an outlier, the continuing downward trend of employee dissatisfaction has seen less and less volatility over time, showing how entrenched the Great Gloom is becoming.
“The new norm of ‘unprecedented times’ is causing enormous stress,” Brad Rencher, BambooHR CEO stated. “Today’s complex problems will require leaders to be proactive, adaptive, and data-informed to beat back the Great Gloom. To succeed in a rapidly evolving world, businesses will need to prioritize employee experience in real, meaningful ways like never before. Anything less than a holistic approach to developing the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of each employee, in addition to their skills, will fall short.”
The Happiest and Unhappiest Workers
Sadly, the unhappiest industries are two of society’s most critical and most impacted by the pandemic: healthcare and education. Healthcare employee happiness has dropped 32% in the last three years (June 2020 to June 2023), but half of that drop occurred in just 2023 (a 16% decrease from June 2022 to June 2023.) From June 2022 to June 2023, education’s happiness fell 5%, 2x faster than the previous two years.
Both nonprofit and travel & hospitality happiness are slightly increasing this year as they continue to rebound from the pandemic, despite still ranking low on happiness overall. Restaurant, food, & beverage’s average eNPS has fallen 31% since June 2020, with little signs of recovery, having dropped 8% alone since June of last year.
Tech sector eNPS scores have dropped off a cliff, declining about 3.5x faster than previous years, and average tech employee happiness scores have declined 14% from June of last year to June of 2023. With a less dramatic decline but higher volatility, finance’s eroding happiness is tied to similar factors as tech: shrinking VC capital, bank closures, massive layoffs, and return-to-office mandates.
The happiest industry is construction, as deep backlogs of work and high residential demand have created coveted job stability and increased wages. The construction industry’s average eNPS of 49 for 2023 has remained steady.
As multiple studies have shown, revenue and employee engagement are inextricably linked, with disengaged employees costing the global economy upwards of $8.8 trillion by Gallup, meaning gloomy employees could have stormy economic repercussions.
“HR is often viewed solely as a tactical administrative function without any meaningful metrics,” Anita Grantham, head of HR, explained. “However, any leadership team that is only tracking sales and marketing performance is being irresponsible and overlooking their largest cost center: their people. eNPS is one of many tools businesses need to track their organization’s health and catch problems quickly and thoughtfully. When margins shrink, it’s easy to get reactionary, but playing the long game and taking care of your employees is always good business.”
The new report, “In 2023, Employees are Unhappier Than Ever. Why?” contains the full details of the Q2 2023 Employee Happiness Index, complete with charts and industry-specific breakdowns for construction, tech, finance, nonprofit, food & beverage, travel & hospitality, education, and healthcare.
All source data is from BambooHR’s eNPS platform gathered between January 2020 and June 2023, and includes more than 1,600 companies, tracking over 57,000 unique employees’ responses from small and medium-sized organizations within the US and internationally. The data analyzed includes more than 1.4 billion self-reported eNPS scores since January 2020.