Is the Great Gloom loosening its grip? Not quite. The BambooHR Employee Happiness Index examines eNPS (employee Net Promoter Scores®) from more than 1.6 billion self-reported scores, and Q3 shows employee happiness continues to decline, but a slight bump might offer a glimpse of much-needed change.
In September 2023, employee satisfaction reached a new three-year low:
- September 2023 eNPS dropped to 36, half a point lower than in June 2023.
- The average eNPS for Q3 is a full point lower than in Q2 2023, dropping from 38 to 37.
- Comparing September 2022 to September 2023, there's a three-point difference, representing a significant 9.3% decrease in eNPS year-over-year (YoY).
Since the beginning of January 2023, employee happiness has been in freefall, showing a strong correlation between economic conditions and employee happiness and engagement. Job security and income stability are essential factors affecting micro job satisfaction—as well as macro consumer confidence and economic growth.
Qualtrics 2024 Employee Experience Trends reports “gaps in recognition, low satisfaction with financial rewards, and a lack of growth and development opportunities,” which leaves workers feeling unappreciated, unheard, and unsupported at work.
According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2023 report, low employee engagement is hurting the global GDP to the tune of $8.8 trillion dollars. The report says it best: “If you’re not thriving at work, you’re unlikely to be thriving at life.”
Key Data Points from BambooHR:
Travel & Hospitality
For the travel and hospitality industry, Q3 2023 has brought continued positive growth in employee happiness, with eNPS scores showing a substantial increase and making it the most favorable quarter seen this year for the industry.
The average eNPS in Q2 was 35, but it increased to 39 in Q3, representing a notable four-point improvement in employee happiness. The US Travel Association reported that air travel demand was up 12% in July compared to the same month last year, a reflection of a strong and growing travel and hospitality industry.
Combined with a rising eNPS, this suggests the industry is recovering, resulting in a resurgence in employee morale and satisfaction.
Pent-up demand created during the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create growth despite consumer spending fluctuations elsewhere. Good business spells happy employees, who likely feel more secure in their employment compared to other service industries.
How to Pierce the Gloom: Focus on Employee Experience
Similar to construction, travel and hospitality leadership should double down on employee happiness by gathering and implementing feedback to create employee loyalty.
A great employee experience will strengthen employee satisfaction, which will in turn create excellent customer care.
Deloitte’s travel report highlights how airports and hotels are doing this already: to address the labor gap, travel providers are leveraging new technology that’s both providing frontline workers with new skills and capabilities and improving the work experience.
In the same report, two-thirds of travel providers said they don’t anticipate tech innovations to cause staff reductions in the next five years, meaning a win-win for workers and customers.
The tech industry has reached a worrisome record low in eNPS scores, consistent with the ongoing 2023 nose-dive. The short-term and YoY data both reflect continued decreases in employee satisfaction: Q3’s average dropped three points from Q2, with July hitting an all-time low eNPS of 36.
The reasons are dramatically clear: The all-but-dried-up venture capital funding has spelled a reckoning in the form of 240,000 lost tech jobs so far in 2023. Slowed sales and company spending have put increased pressure on remaining employees to grow profitability and do more with less, particularly headcount. And with the ever-present economic downturn, unhappy employees are hesitant to leave stable work.
How to Pierce the Gloom: Invest in Your Employees’ Future
The tech industry is undergoing seismic changes—financially with lost funding and decreased sales, and innovatively with the rise of AI. A recent Gallup poll found that 22% of workers are worried about being replaced by technology, in addition to being concerned about losing benefits (31%) and having their wages reduced (24%).
Be open with your employees about what the organization’s plans and strategies are for a successful future: for the business, for customers, and for employees. Presenting a strong vision of a shared successful future where employees will have expanded opportunities to improve their skills can help quell financial anxieties and layoff fears.
In addition to investing in new skills, don’t overlook the importance of investing in benefits and wages–it’s much cheaper than having to replace skilled talent.
The restaurant, food, and beverage industry in Q3 2023 reached a new three-year low in eNPS, with a substantial drop from the previous quarter, and a notable decrease since June 2023, a concerning and sustained decline in employee happiness.
The average eNPS for Q3 is down by four points from Q2, marking a 10% drop since June 2023, surpassing the previous low from March 2023, and a substantial 21% or eight-point drop in September YoY scores.
The National Restaurant Association reports the restaurant industry is the second-largest private sector employer, currently employing almost 10% of the total US workforce. Yet tanking scores point to further fallout of food service businesses still being short-staffed, putting added responsibility on employees who are spread thin and wage-dependent on tips to make ends meet.
Inflation and contested wage legislation, combined with slowing consumer spending, means paychecks that aren’t covering what they used to.
How to Pierce the Gloom: Foster Inclusion, Stability, and Security
Almost one in five (17%) US employees work an unpredictable or unstable schedule, with short notice of changes and inconsistent hours being a barrier or burden for many, particularly for caregiver employees. Brookings research shows that asking employees to stay longer than originally scheduled has a negative effect on sales.
To create more stability and inclusion, employers in the food industry can lean on technology, like making use of scheduling systems that only schedule employees during their availability. There are also shift marketplace apps that make it easy for employees to trade or pick up shifts that keep employers in the loop.
But while picking up extra shifts and having control over available hours greatly supports food workers, too many still struggle to make ends meet and are also food insecure at home. Those making the minimum wage are the most financially vulnerable. A little compassion, accommodation, and support can go a long way.
All source data is from the BambooHR eNPS platform gathered between January 2020 and September 2023 and includes more than 1,600 companies, tracking anonymous responses from over 57,000 unique employees since January 2020. The data analyzed includes more than 1.6 billion self-reported eNPS scores that have been analyzed in an aggregated, anonymized way to protect the privacy of employees and the integrity of the metric.
Industries highlighted include healthcare, finance, construction, travel and hospitality, nonprofit, restaurant/food and beverage, education, and technology. Further demographics included are company region, company headcount, and average employee tenure at a company. Volatility is calculated monthly using the difference between that month and the previous month’s average eNPS.