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Survey Takeaways: Confidence Falls, “Normal” is Dead, a Rise in Depression

COVID-19 Weekly Culture Pulse Survey April 13-17, 2020

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Our weekly culture pulse survey tracks how the 2020 pandemic is impacting workplace culture and the employee experience. Use this knowledge to act with confidence and inspire your people to get through this together.


Declines in employee confidence continue.

Not surprisingly, amidst increasing news of layoffs, furloughs, decreasing pay and benefits, employee confidence is steadily on the decline. This is most evident in a 52.3% decrease in employee net promoter score week-over-week. Reported layoffs, furloughs, and pay decreases rose again week-over-week (by 28.5%, 23%, and 39.2% respectively), while reported benefit reductions increased this week by an alarming 44.9%. These are indeed unprecedented times. In spite of a lot of great work being done by many, employee emotions are running high as this week’s data confirm:

71.5% decrease in employee sentiment about their workplace culture

20% decline in engagement week-over-week

100% increase in feeling personally unproductive

12% decrease in trust of leaders

11% increase in feeling work life is hurting happiness at home

13% increase in feeling work is negatively affecting health


Employees doubt things will ever return to “normal.”

One respondent said it quite directly, “It is difficult to imagine how we will ever be normal again.” Indeed, as COVID-19 takes its place as a once-in-a-lifetime crisis of historical proportion, employees are beginning to plan for a future workplace that looks very different from the recent past. 77% of employees feel their workplace culture will ever return to “normal.” For some this means they are planning on a few perceived positives, like more remote work opportunities and a greater increase in virtual collaboration. For others, COVID-19 has sparked a desire to change careers. Nearly half of all respondents say they are considering a change in career (by industry) after COVID-19 settles down.

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For more insights on the changing definition of “normal” and what organizations can do to shape a brighter future for the workplace, read The Termination of “Normal” Culture here.


Organizations face a rise in depression.

People are resilient and as a human race we have great cause for hope. But the combined effects of economic and physical fear, life disruption, extra work or no work at all, isolation, and other pandemic-related forces has caused a steep rise in depression. In fact, “essential” workers report a 43% greater incidence of depression. Those in jobs where the pandemic has caused severe exhaustion report a 93% greater incidence of depression. This is critical given that when employees are depressed organizations see a 65% decrease in engagement.

For a deeper dive into the survey data on depression and actionable steps organizations can take to combat it, read Three Ways to Combat Rising Employee Depression here.

Stay tuned to our COVID-19 weekly culture pulse surveys for insights that will help your organization to weather the storm.

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