By Chris Fenton Over the last couple of years, the way people view work has dramatically shifted. Prior to the pandemic, engagement and well-being in the workforce had been rising steadily for a decade, according to Gallup. But according to the Gallup poll, only 21% of employees say they’re engaged at work, while just 33% of staffers say their overall well-being is thriving. Most employees surveyed say they don’t find their work meaningful, their lives aren’t going well and they don’t feel hopeful about the future. Between 2006 and 2021, Gallup’s negative experience index, an overall measure of anger, stress, sadness and physical pain, climbed by 37%. These numbers should be a five-alarm fire for leaders who need an engaged and happy workforce for their businesses to succeed, especially in today’s increasingly competitive business environment. A recent Harvard Business Review article argues that engaged employees perform better, experience less burnout and stay in organizations longer. Jon Clifton, CEO of Gallup, pointed out in his book Blind Spot, The Global Rise of Unhappiness and How Leaders Missed It, engagement is about more than money. He found that the 20% of people who say they have a great life have five things in common: their work is fulfilling, they don’t have much financial stress, they like their community, they’re in good health and they have loved ones they can lean on in tough times. He found that the 20% of people at the bottom of the happiness scale have none of these things. Increase commitment Fortunately, companies can increase engagement if they focus on four areas, according to various academic papers. Employees must: Feel committed to their company Identify with their organization Feel satisfied with their job Feel energized at work Create engagement opportunities Understanding that happiness translates into workplace success, here at Metro Supply Chain, we have long made employee engagement a priority. We regularly conduct surveys of our workforce to gauge levels of satisfaction and to understand which issues need to be addressed. In a recent poll, in which more than 71% of employees participated, 70% said they were satisfied with their jobs. Part of the reason for the high numbers is that 76% said they believe in our corporate values, 73% said our company’s mission and vision make them feel their job is important, while 76% also said they were proud to be a Metro Supply Chain employee. Getting to such high satisfaction levels doesn’t happen overnight. We have long invested in a company-wide “Our Way” culture program to connect our team members to our values and ways of working, in addition to development programs that support their growth. We look for ways to help younger staff feel proud about their work and see our company as the start of a career path where they can build a future. Continuous improvement is also one of our core principles. Through our Always Improving framework, employees at local levels are given the freedom to identify and solve business challenges. This allows them to directly see how their contributions are making a difference not only in our business but also in our customers’ businesses, too. Our employees also derive a sense of purpose from our long history of engagement with the community and our commitment to sustainability, which makes people proud to work here. For instance, with a footprint across North America and Europe, we’re helping dozens of communities – from local soccer clubs and food banks to national causes like the Red Cross and the Canadian Women’s Foundation. We’re also proud supporters of the Toronto Arrows – the only Canadian team in Major League Rugby – who share our commitment to community efforts. By listening carefully to staff and creating programs that promote employee engagement, any business in any sector can turn the tide of waning employee well-being. With people having more choice over where they can work and putting happiness over money when deciding where they want to spend their days, our goal is to continually make our business a place that people are excited to come to every day.