Article: Key insights from O.C. Tanner’s report on Global Workplace Culture


Key insights from O.C. Tanner’s report on Global Workplace Culture

O.C. Tanner’s recent study to comprehend the global workplace culture shows that employees who felt a sense of ‘belonging’ at their workplaces are 5.3 times more likely to feel empowered at work and do their best.
Key insights from O.C. Tanner’s  report on Global Workplace Culture

The people strategies adopted by global organizations to attract and retain talent are evolving and shining the spotlight on a company’s biggest asset: its employees. But what do leaders and employees think of new people practices and cultures that have swept the workplace in the recent past? Have companies been successful in creating a healthy and inclusive culture that attracts and engages employees and helps them grow?

To answer these questions that O.C. Tanner undertook a global culture study last month. The survey responses were collected from 16 focus groups and 65 leaders, all of whom are employees of large companies. The survey was conducted with employees from Argentina, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States. A total of over 15,000 employees were interviewed and surveyed as a part of the study.

The study identified six key ‘talent magnets’ of culture and gauged the global scores for these elements. Here are the major findings of the same:


  1. The Global Index Score for ‘Employee Sense of Purpose’ was 66%; the highest sense of purpose was found to be in India at 77%, followed by China (70%) in the second place. Singapore (61%) finished second to last and Japan was the bottom (58%).
  2. Only 53% of the respondents found their company purpose as ‘inspiring’; 31% thought of it as too ‘generic’, whereas 33% felt that their company’s purpose was simply a different version of their competitors’.
  3. While 61% of the leaders felt a sense of purpose in their company, only 48% of the individual contributors felt the same. 
  4. Respondents from Gen Z (60%), closely followed by the Millennial generation (59%) had the highest sense of purpose. They were followed by Generation X (50%) and Baby Boomer (51%).


  1. The Global Index Score for ‘Employee Sense of Opportunity’ was 59%. Again, India led the group with a 77% score, followed by China (68%). Singapore (56%) was in the fifth position, and Japan (52%) was in the last. 
  2. Around 50% of the respondents felt that there is an element of favoritism in their organization when it comes to opportunity. 
  3. 68% of leaders were of the view that their company provides them with opportunities, as opposed to 44% of the individual contributors. 
  4. The generation with the most positive sense of perception for opportunity was Gen Z (70%), followed by Millennial (64%), Generation X (50%), and Baby Boomer (44%).


  1. The Global Index Score for ‘Employee Sense of Success’ was 60%; with once again, India finishing atop (74%). China came in second with 67%, Singapore second to last with a 56% score and Japan at the very last with 50%. 
  2. Only 54% of the respondents agreed to the statement that they felt like they had accomplished something they considered significant at work in the past 30 days. 
  3. While 63% of the leaders felt a sense of success, only 45% of the individuals felt the same. 
  4. The sense of success also varied greatly by age: Gen Z (61%), Millennial (61%), Generation X (50%), and Baby Boomer (47%). 


  1. The Global Index Score for ‘Employee Sense of Appreciation’ was found to be 57%. India and China led the pack at 68% and 67%, respectively. Singapore was placed sixth with 55% , and Japan came in tenth with 54%.
  2. Less than two-thirds of the employees (61%) felt appreciated for the work they do.
  3. A 71% dip in the feeling of appreciation was recorded when praise or recognition wasn’t given after an employee worked extra hard or achieved something great; 40% of the respondents felt that appreciation at their workplace was an ‘empty gesture’.
  4. Generation-wise, Gen Z (80%) finished atop, followed by millennial (65%). Baby Boomer (58%) and Generation X (57%) fared much lower.


  1. The Global Index Score for ‘Employee Sense of Wellbeing’ was 53%. The United States finished first with 57%, followed by Argentina, China, Germany, and Mexico (each 55%). India finished ninth with 51%. Japan and Singapore finished last with 50% each. 
  2. A dismal 14% of the respondents said that their workplace puts a priority on emotional wellbeing and only 9% believed that their employers cared about their social well-being. 
  3. 53% of the respondents admitted that they are forced to respond to inquiries during their personal time, and more than one in third (38%) simply cannot stop thinking about work, even after they have left their workplace. 
  4. While only 24% of the Baby Boomers and 25% of the Generation X workers felt ‘lonely’ at work; the number was notably higher for millennial workers (35%) and Gen Z (45%).


  1. The Global Index Score for ‘Employee Sense of Leadership’ was 57%. India led the pack with a 70% score, followed by China at 66%. Singapore finished tenth with 53% and Japan came in last with 48%. 
  2. When the ‘management’ is blamed for a decision, the chances of an employee staying in their role go down by as much as 64%.
  3. Most respondents stated that they have lost trust (and motivation) in their leadership due to a poor relationship with their direct supervisors and senior leaders.
  4. Respondents from the Gen Z and millennial generation (61% each) view their leaders much more favorably than those from Generation X (54%) and Baby Boomer (51%).

While India is doing well in most fields, it misses the mark by a huge margin in wellbeing – a crucial component of a healthy workplace culture. Singapore and Japan were amongst some of the worst-performing countries in the study. The findings of the study assume significance for all organizations as it found that employees who felt a sense of ‘belonging’ at their workplaces are 5.3 times more likely to feel empowered at work and do their best.

Concluding the findings of the report, Gary Beckstrand, Vice President, O.C. Tanner Institute, says, “The 2018 Global Culture Report suggests that companies that have moved from company-centric solutions to integrated strategies informed by the employee experience are ahead of the curve. The research is clear. Employees are calling for greater connection. Connection to purpose, achievement, and to one another."

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Topics: Culture, #GlobalPerspective

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