State of the American Workplace

“We change the world one client at a time through extraordinary analytics and advice on everything important facing humankind.” Jim Clifton – Chairman and CEO

About This Report

STATE OF THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE presents an unparalleled look into the modern workforce. The report is based on Gallup’s in-depth research and study and was created to help business leaders optimize their attraction, retention, engagement and performance strategies in a time of extraordinary change. The findings and best practices speak to employees evolving wants and needs and give leaders a clear understanding of what it takes to be an exceptional workplace.
Gallup developed State of the American Workplace using data collected from more than 195,600 U.S. employees via the Gallup Panel and Gallup Daily tracking in 2015 and 2016, and more than 31 million respondents through Gallup’s Q12 Client Database. First launched in 2010, this is the third iteration of the report.


Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with our global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.
For more information about Gallup solutions for optimizing business performance, please visit

Jim Clifton – Chairman and CEO


The old ways — annual reviews, forced rankings, outdated competencies — no longer achieve the intended results.

The American workforce has more than 100 million full-time employees. One-third of those employees are what Gallup calls engaged at work. They love their jobs and make their organization and America better every day. At the other end, 16% of employees are actively disengaged — they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged — they’re just there.

These figures indicate an American leadership philosophy that simply doesn’t work anymore. One also wonders if the country’s declining productivity numbers point to a need for major workplace disruption.

If American companies were simply to double the number of engaged workers from one-third to two-thirds, spirited employees would reverse our seriously declining national productivity. America needs to historically transform the practice of management similar to the way Six Sigma and lean management improved processes in the 1980s.

Gallup owns the largest database in the world on the subject of management. Our teams of analysts and experts produced the report in your hands — your board, executive committee and top managers need to read
every word of it.

Here’s my short answer as to how to transform your workplace culture :

1. Call an executive committee meeting and commit to transforming your workplace from old command-and-control to one of high development and ongoing coaching conversations. Gallup can hold your hand through this. We will teach you everything we have learned as fast as we can.

2. Dive in — don’t put your toe in. You can afford a lot of mistakes and even failures because the system you currently use doesn’t work anyway.

3. Switch from a culture of “employee satisfaction” — which only measures things like how much workers like their perks and benefits — to a “coaching culture.”

4. Change from a culture of “paycheck” to a culture of “purpose.”

5. If you have 25,000 employees, then you likely have about 2,500 managers and leaders at various levels. Transform them all. Gallup has all the new tools for the right conversations — how to coach, building strengths-based workplaces, pulse polls. Everything is ready to go, tested and validated.

6. Require all 25,000 employees to take the world-renowned CliftonStrengths assessment so your organization recognizes each individual by their God-given strengths. Institute a leadership philosophy of developing strengths versus fixing weaknesses.

Like Six Sigma and lean management before it, this transformation will lead to historic bursts in productivity and will change your organization, America and the world.

State of the American Workplace

Downlaod State of the American Workplace En PDF

Table of Contents

P.12 : 01 U.S. Workers: Increasingly Confident and Ready to Leave
P.20 : 02 Do Employees Want What Your Workplace Is Selling?
P.38 : 03 The Real Truth About Benefits and Perks
P.58 : 04 The Competitive Advantage of Engaging Employees
P.74 : 05 A Shift in Managing Performance
P.94 : 06 A Closer Look at the 12 Elements of Engagement
P.128 : 07 Making Sense of Matrixed Teams
P.146 : 08 The Changing Place and Space of Work
P.174 : 09 Employee Engagement: A Snapshot
P.190 : Close
P.196 : Appendix