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Employee Hope Reduces Risk of Turnover

As a counterpoint to the extremely high numbers of employees experiencing pessimism in its winter 2023 Workforce Well-being Survey, meQuilibrium (meQ) investigated a positive emotion—hope—in its latest research. The survey of 5,989 adults finds that hope—the combination of optimism and self-efficacy—is a powerful emotion that can protect employees from pessimism and negativity.  

Hope is a powerful positive force that can greatly enhance employee well-being. Employees with the highest levels of hope are 74% less likely to suffer from burnout, 74% less likely to suffer from anxiety, and 75% less likely to suffer from depression, the research finds. Hope also reduces the risk of quiet quitting and turnover with the most hopeful employees 33% less likely to endorse quiet quitting than the least hopeful employees. Turnover intent is cut in half (49% less) among the most hopeful employees.  

“Our study identified resilience as the key driver of hope,” says Dr. Brad Smith, chief science officer at meQ. “The data show that it is not just resilience writ large, but specific cognitive characteristics—positivity, self-efficacy, and problem solving—that underlie a strong sense of hope. Organizations that focus on cultivating these characteristics can achieve remarkable gains in employee well-being.”  

In addition to serving as a key driver of hope, resilience emerged as a remedy for burnout, stress, quiet quitting, and turnover. The key drivers of positivity, self-efficacy, and problem-solving boost hope-driven, goal-directed behavior by 50% to 85%. Compared to the least resilient respondents, the most resilient employees show 70% reductions in the risk of anxiety, depression, and burnout. Belonging also shows powerful protective effects. Employees with a strong sense of belonging face substantially reduced risks of burnout, anxiety, and depression. However, just half (50.6%) of those surveyed feel a strong sense of connection with work colleagues.  

Further, managers play a pivotal role in employee well-being. More than eight in 10 (84.1%) of employees with strong manager support feel respected and valued by teammates, compared to just 53% with weak manager support. 

“This study, along with our previous scientific research, continues to demonstrate the vital roles of resilience and strong managers in fostering a thriving workforce,” says Dr. Smith. “Now that we have identified hope and belonging as powerful forces in significantly enhancing employee well-being, engagement, productivity, and retention, it’s crucial that we empower employees with a sense of hope and belonging which will enable them to better cope with stress, overcome obstacles, and find meaning in their work.”  

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