We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it appears levels of employee satisfaction and engagement in British workplaces are at worryingly low levels.

For example, research by Gallup this year discovered the UK’s workforce is one of the least engaged on the planet, with a mere 10% of workers feeling engaged by their employer and job. Worryingly, only eight territories covered in the research – including Iran (9%), France (7%) and Hong Kong (6%) – have a lower percentage of engaged workers.

We’ve also conducted our own research into levels of employee satisfaction in the workplace, and the results make for worrying reading. Our report discovered that 48% of British and Irish employees are dissatisfied with their jobs, and nearly half are actively looking to leave their roles. In addition, poor morale is affecting two-fifths of workers, whilst nearly a quarter believe their senior leader’s lack of communications is harming their workplace satisfaction.

Clearly, companies and their HR teams are facing difficulties when it comes to building engaging and satisfying workplaces. So, what can be done?

How to boost employee satisfaction and engagement in the workplace: 6 brilliant TED Talks

If nurturing a satisfying and engaging workplace is high on your list of HR priorities, we’ve collected some brilliant TED Talks to help you do exactly that. They all offer unique insights that help hard-working HR teams better understand what contributes to greater levels of employment satisfaction and engagement – enjoy!

  1. How to Make Work-Life Balance Work

A positive work-life balance sits at the core of employee satisfaction. This statement can be backed-up by our research which found that, aside from annual salary, a positive work-life balance was the main reason employees felt satisfied in their roles.

It makes sense then, that HR look at how their workplaces can support a healthy work-life balance as part of a positive company culture. In this TED Talk, Strategic Consultant and best-selling author Nigel Marsh discusses the importance of work-life balance, and provides practical insights on how both individuals and employers can create a more satisfying work environment. Nigel also describes an ideal day perfectly balanced between family time, personal time and productivity, and offers his own inspiration to make it happen. Well worth a watch!

  1. The Way We Think About Work is Broken

It’s very easy to think that better money or perks will automatically equal a more satisfied and engaged workforce. But, this simply isn’t the case. In fact, people are more than prepared to leave a role if they aren’t satisfied in their role, or believe a company’s culture is poor. The bottom line? Money on its own doesn’t equal a better workplace experience – or even a reason to want to work!

In this eye-opening TED Talk, respected psychologist and Professor of Social Theory and Social Action Barry Schwartz asks a simple, yet profound question: why do we work? He discusses the subtle factors and characteristics at play that subconsciously encourage us to want to work – and these go far beyond just receiving a salary. By acknowledging them, both employers and employees can take the first steps to creating more rewarding employment experiences for everyone.

  1. How to Make Stress Your Friend

Stress is – unfortunately – a somewhat unavoidable part of working life. This is especially true for HR professionals, with recent research finding that a shocking 98% of HR professionals have experienced burnout over the past two years.

With stress being part and parcel of the workplace experience, is it time we all approached it differently? It’s a question that health psychologist and university lecturer Kelly McGonical looks to answer in her thought-provoking TED Talk. She discusses the impact of stress on individuals and suggests embracing a different perspective: one that can help turn stress into a positive force in the workplace, leading to greater workplace satisfaction and better personal resilience.

  1. Why Good Leaders Make you Feel Safe

It’s a well-known fact that a company’s culture flows from the top down. Indeed, our own research into the state of company cultures found employees firmly believe senior leaders are the ones who influence a company culture the most. And, when it comes to creating satisfying workplaces, our research found nearly 60% of employees believed senior leaders in their business actively contributed to a positive workplace experience.

In this enthusiastic TED Talk, respected author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek delves deep into the importance of trust and creating a safe environment in leadership. He explains how leaders who prioritise the wellbeing and security of their people can find it easier to create satisfying, successful workplaces with teams that really work. A must-watch for all people practitioners!

  1. The Happy Secret to Better Work

Happiness and employee satisfaction go hand-in-hand. Employees who get satisfaction out of their work and employer will likely be happier, healthier and more positive in their day-to-day lives. So, isn’t it time organisations look to see how they can leverage happiness in the workplace?

In this lively and entertaining TED Talk, author and speaker Shawn Archor argues how it’s happiness that inspires us to be more productive at work. He also shares his own research findings on positive wellbeing, psychology and how happiness and a positive mindset can lead to increased productivity and satisfaction in the workplace.

  1. The Power of Vulnerability

One of the more concerning facts to emerge from our research into employee satisfaction was that nearly half of employees didn’t feel comfortable expressing their cultural or social beliefs at work. If employees feel they can’t express themselves based on their unique perspectives, it’s likely they’ll never be able to build meaningful engagement with their employer, or be truly satisfied in their work.

In our final TED Talk, university professor, author, and podcast host Brené Brown talks about the importance of embracing vulnerability in the workplace, and also talks about the concept of ‘Wholeheartedness’: a concept she believes can create cultures where people feel safe to be their authentic selves. This openness, Brené argues, can lead to more satisfying connections and collaboration – especially in the workplace.

Paul Bauer author image

Paul Bauer

Paul Bauer is the Head of Content at Cezanne HR. Based in the Utopia of Milton Keynes (his words, not ours!) he’s worked within the employee benefits, engagement and HR sectors for over four years. He's also earned multiple industry awards for his work - including a coveted Roses Creative Award.