After the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, Weber Shandwick, in partnership with Powell Tate and KRC Research, conducted a pulse poll to track public opinion on a host of critical issues heading into 2023.
Findings reveal that as another year winds down, America is reckoning with social and cultural aftershocks of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Companies, workers and consumers are navigating related economic uncertainty heading into the new year – as well as complex challenges associated with shifting attitudes of the workplace and its role in society.
The survey revealed intersecting themes regarding these realities:
- Employees are largely back in their workplaces and a large number are struggling with wellness issues.
- Consumers and employees alike believe in the power of business to make a positive difference, but employees are growing skeptical of their own employers’ impact.
The poll was conducted among 1,006 U.S. adults between November 14 and 16, 2022 and included full- and part-time employees as well as non-employed individuals (homemakers, students, unemployed and retired). Key findings include:
The future of work:
- The majority of employees are back in workplaces, with 68% reporting that they are back full-time, despite 21% of those employees saying their work can be done from home. Only 12% split their time between home and workplace.
- Sixty-two percent (62%) of Gen Z and 59% of Millennials say they worry about their mental health and wellness, compared to a lower percentage (46%) among Baby Boomers.
- Millennials and Gen Z employees are significantly more restless about their jobs than Gen X and Boomers, which also seems to challenge worker loyalty to their employers.
The role of employers:
- Sixty-two percent (62%) of consumers and 69% of employees said they believe business is a constructive force for positive social change. Gen Z (76%) and Millennials (72%) are most likely to share this view, compared to Gen X (59%) and Baby Boomers (45%).
- A significant majority – 71% to 85% – believe companies should create societal value and uphold their own company, employee and community values, yet fewer than 1 in 3 respondents gave their own employer an excellent rating in any one of these value areas.
- For the first time in more than two years, only 50% of consumers and 59% of employees are confident that they are taking the right steps. Such confidence among employees is down 8 points since June.
What does success look like for business leaders?
Amid lingering pandemic effects, instilling workforce loyalty will continue to be a critical challenge for employers and business leaders – especially with a softening economy and as Millennials and other younger workers redefine the intersection of workplace and social issues. To succeed, leaders must:
- Seek to understand and address the distinct expectations among generations and political perspectives
- Prioritize social issues
- Keep a pulse on employee sentiment and concerns
- Act with sensibility
For more on the data and to learn more about business implications, see below or download as a PDF here.