89 % of employees in India claim to be highly motivated by challenges and extra responsibility at work, survey conducted by UKG

27 March, 2024, BENGALURU, India
  • 76% employees from India believe that their work is more than just a ‘job’ to them and has a special meaning
  • 85% of employees are encouraged by their organisations to balance their work and personal lives. Despite this, 78% of employees in India experience some form of job burnout, which is caused due to work-related stress leading to physical and emotional exhaustion 
  • 64% employees from India would readily accept a workload reduction for a commensurate pay cut
  • The study by UKG Workforce Institute was conducted across 10 countries, including India, surveying more than 4000 employees, including managers and C-suite executives

Managers have a major impact on employees’ productivity and engagement, as well as other factors that create a great place to work such as building trust, fostering open communication, and caring for employees as individuals, according to a new global study by the UKG Workforce Institute. Globally, managers also report the highest levels of burnout at work, underlining the critical need for more organizational support in order to be the most effective in their roles.

In India, about three in four employees (72%) say their manager’s support, encouragement, and/or their leadership directly motivates them to go above and beyond in the workplace, and two-fifth of employees (40%) say having a good manager — one who’s accessible but doesn’t micro-manage — makes them feel the most productive at work. Moreover, according to the UKG study:

  • 91% employees agree that their managers give them actionable feedback to help improve their performance and create clear performance goals with them
  • 88% employees state that their manager values diverse perspectives
  • 86% employees feel empowered by their managers to do their job

The study also reveals that 89 % of employees in India claim to be highly motivated by challenges and extra responsibility at work and 84% employees believe that their manager cares and has empathy for them. Having said that 78% of employees in India experience some form of job burnout, leading to physical and emotional exhaustion. In fact, 64% employees from India would readily accept a workload reduction for a commensurate pay cut. This goes to show that a majority of employees recognise the importance of a healthy work-life balance and are willing to prioritize it over financial gain. 

The shifting workplace culture in India

With the changing attitude of employees towards the nature of work, it is no longer seen solely as a means of survival, but rather as a source of meaning and fulfillment. As the study reveals, 76% employees from India believe that their work is more than just a ‘job’ to them and has a special meaning, and 72% employees genuinely think that they make a difference in their organisation. In fact, 91% employees find their managers helping them gain the understanding of how exactly their role impacts the business of the organisation at a larger scale. 

Changing dynamics of workplace culture, along with managers that prioritize employee engagement and growth, play a pivotal role in nurturing this shift towards a more purpose-driven approach to work. According to the findings of the study specific to India: 

  • 80% employees confirmed that their organisation provides learning and development opportunities for their professional growth
  • 75% say that their organisation celebrates people who try new ways of doing things, regardless of the outcome
  • 68% employees agree that their workplace embraces diversity and is intentional about creating an inclusive culture

Trust is the new workplace currency

In India Trust is emerging as a cornerstone of a thriving workplace. The study revealed that 94% of managers place their trust in employees, it fosters an environment of collaboration and mutual respect. Trust extends beyond mere delegation; it signifies confidence in employees’ abilities and judgment. 88% of managers actively support their employees’ career aspirations, recognizing that individual growth contributes to overall organizational success. 

The trust of managers is further substantiated by the survey revealing that 83% of managers encourage employees to take calculated risks, thereby empowering them to innovate and drive the business forward. Additionally, when 86% of employees reported that their managers assist them in overcoming workplace obstacles, it reinforces a sense of trust, camaraderie and shared responsibility. Trust, therefore, isn’t just a soft concept—it’s a strategic asset that fuels productivity, engagement, and long-term success in any workplace.

Commenting on this, Sumeet Doshi, Country Manager at UKG, India, stated, “There is an emerging culture of promoting trust, transparency and accountability in workplaces across the world, and managers are the major driving force behind this shift. The study is reflective of this fact as it finds 91% Indian employees well-informed by their managers on leadership decisions, and 87% employees observing how effective their managers are in resolving conflict within the team.” 

He added, “It is important to understand that in an organization, change starts at the top. Initiatives and policies that enable a positive work culture cannot be sustained without the support of senior leadership. Therefore, 85% of employees in India finding themselves influenced by their managers to achieve work-life balance is a very positive indicator towards how managers are helping organisations adapt to a more employee-centric idea of ‘work’.”

Mapping productivity metrics in the Indian workforce

Improved employee ‘well-being’ and engagement within the organisation has always been equated with higher levels of productivity. However, there are factors that drive employee productivity and the study highlights that 92% employees in India are motivated by their desire to work on projects they care about and are working with people they easily get along with. When recognised for a job well done, 93% employees reportedly find themselves willing to go above and beyond at work. 

Nitin Wadhwa, Director of Human Resources at UKG, India, said, “In recent times, employee resource groups (ERGs) have come into play, helping organizations to mitigate bias and create a supportive and safe environment where employees can bring their ‘whole’ selves to work, without fear of judgement. The results of the study show that 91% employees find that having ERGs at work to lean on for support keeps them encouraged to be their most productive selves.” 

Surprisingly, the study reveals a streak of competitive mindset in the workforce of today as 89% of employees in India say that challenges and extra responsibility at work highly motivates them. This suggests that employees are increasingly seeking opportunities to test their abilities and take on new challenges, driving them to strive for continuous growth and development in their careers.

About the UKG Workforce Institute

Established in 2007, the UKG Workforce Institute is a global think tank of HR practitioners, researchers, and business leaders dedicated to driving organizational growth and performance through an emphasis on people. Every week, we share original research, data-driven insights, and actionable strategies from our esteemed board members and various industry experts. We’re focused on the key areas of compliance, culture, talent, technology, and wellbeing, how each impacts the workforce, from the frontline to the C-suite, and what organizations can do to best serve their employees across different industries, today and in the future.

About UKG:

At UKG, our purpose is people. We are on a mission to inspire every organization to become a great place to work through workforce management technology built for all. More than 80,000 customers across all sizes, industries, and geographies trust UKG’s workforce management, HR, and culture cloud solutions to drive great workplace experiences and make better, more confident people and business decisions. With the world’s largest collection of people data, work data, and culture data combined with rich experience using artificial intelligence in the service of people, we connect culture insights with business outcomes to show what’s possible when organizations invest in their people. To learn more, visit ukg.in.

Footnote 1: Survey Methodology— Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Walr from August 16 to September 4, 2023. In total, 4,200 employees in nine countries completed the survey. For the U.S. only, the study included not only employees but also managers and C-suite leaders. Responses were gathered from 1,800 total workers in the U.S. (600 employees, 600 managers, and 600 C-suite leaders), 1,000 employees in Australia/New Zealand, and 200 employees in each of the following countries: Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the U.K. The survey explored issues around AI in the workplace, burnout and time use at work, leadership types and trust areas, and productivity.

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