Life, work and the 2023 Index

What Integral’s research shows about creating employee experiences that drive engagement (pssst! it’s life and work)

Philosophers, poets, industrialists, communists, freedom fighters and tyrants alike situate work at the center of their life and worldview.

No surprise, really, since the average human spends about a third of their life working! Examining — and improving — the experience of work at a systems level is my life’s work and the ‘why’ behind our agency, Integral. It’s also the reason we created the Integral Index, now in its third year. We wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the employee experience, and also to test our own beliefs.

  • Is it true that leaders can lead more effectively by leading equitably?
  • Can a company’s culture be meaningful, inclusive and productive?
  • Is it true that the multiple identities we carry to work might be reconcilable — or even harmonious?
  • What else can we learn and therefore have the opportunity to improve?

In prior years, we learned that our hypotheses had merit. We found compelling evidence that employees are more productive when they bring their whole selves to work. Undeniably, people enjoy their working lives more when they’re acknowledged.

Company leaders and managers who demonstrate their own commitment to shared values enjoy the commitment of their teams. When companies make investments in their digital future, their workforce yearns to see themselves as part of that success. We found that employees of all stripes need to express their social and political identities. Similarly, many also expect their employers to take authentic actions on societal and political issues.

A look at life and work

In this third edition of the Integral Index, we continued our partnership with The Harris Poll. Additionally, this year’s study benefited from the inestimable guidance of Dr. Rita Men, a leading expert on internal communications. Her contributions helped us deepen our analysis of the research data. Accordingly, this year’s Index shares surprising insights. Not to mention we found a continuance of known trends and validation of themes from prior years.

My wish for the workplace

Longstanding loci of social interactions are in decay. Loneliness and lack of social connections are on the rise. The ‘great sorting’ continues to take its polarizing toll. I can’t decouple my interpretation of this tumultuous moment in history from my life and identity. I’m a middle-aged, Caucasian, straight, cis-gendered, American man. In a word, privileged.

I bring it up because this relatively elevated status in society informs my deeply desired wish. I envision a workplace that affords us all an enjoyable, peacefully shared meaning – without the baggage of constant cognitive dissonance. Workplaces can provide a context for comity, human connection, and the delightful serendipity of shared discovery and progress.

Despite what some headlines may claim, we humans will be at work for some time yet. In the office or classroom, on the shop floor, or behind the wheel, we’ll be working. Many of us will continue to see our roles as more than just a bargain of time for money. Instead, we’ll see our roles as a set of relationships to be understood, improved, and valued.

We believe that work should be an integral part of a fulfilling life. Our Integral Index presents findings that will help organizations better understand the experiences of human beings at work. And how life and work create the employee experience. Together, we can create workplaces where businesses – and the people who work there – can reach their goals.

What the Integral Index can mean for you

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing our findings and analysis of key issues in today’s workplace. We’ll explore how an organization’s actions drive employee engagement, engagement and activation. This year’s study will be released in five parts, about three weeks apart.

Get the 2023 Index.

Questions? Let us know!