• 65% of transport workers feel that if they do great work, they won’t be recognised
  • Just 43% are committed to their employers (global average 58%)
  • 38% feel highly unappreciated (global average 22%)
  • 48% trust the senior leaders to lead the company in the right direction (global average 69%)
  • Insight from nearly 45,000 employees at over 20 operating companies 

Transport workers are one of the most unappreciated groups of employees according to engagement surveys across the sector. Only 35% of employees feel recognised for their contribution at work, compared to other industries where the average is 63%.

Inpulse, experts in employee engagement, analysed the emotional climate at over 20 transport companies to understand precisely how people feel at work and why they feel this way to help uncover what action can be taken to increase employee engagement.

The findings from circa 45,000 employees showed that more than one-third of transport workers (38%) feel negative about their workplaces, with emotions such as ‘unappreciated’, ‘stressed’ and ‘irritated’ prevailing. In addition, over half of workers (51%) don’t feel confident they will be listened to when they share their views. Only 59% understand how their work contributed to the company’s strategy and goals – a low statistic compared to an average of 80% across other industries.

Matt Stephens, Founder and CEO of Inpulse, said: “The emotional climate in the transport sector is unlike any other industry. The positive and negative sentiments are near equal strength (53% positive, 47% negative), which is highly unusual as it is normally much more strongly positive.. Generally speaking, transport employees feel positive emotions due to enjoying the nature of their work and, therefore, they have high levels of job satisfaction. What’s more, people feel committed to their roles and responsibilities and are happy carrying out their day-to-day duties.

“However, the negative emotional climate is dominated by people feeling unappreciated. Alongside feelings of stress and irritation, the negativity is often so deeply entrenched that it breeds toxicity and is presenting leaders and HR teams with an arduous challenge.”

The report also highlighted that people feel uncertain and anxious about the direction of the organisation and, therefore, what this means for them in their roles and personal lives. Additionally, only 48% trust senior leaders to lead the company in the right direction (compared to a global average of 69%).

Despite this, many transport workers (43%) are still committed to their companies, even though they feel highly unappreciated (38% vs global 22%). However, commitment is slipping compared to the commitment from the overall global workforce (58%).

Stephens continued: “There are so many transportation strikes challenging the industry, yet our analysis shows that behaviours of leaders and line managers is key to unlocking the situation and can make a significant difference.

“Important engagement factors for employees include working towards clear goals and having sight of the direction of the organisation – the lack of which is impeding efforts to engage employees. It can be difficult, however, for transport leaders when strategy and vision can be in the hands of government decisions.

“The good news is that we’ve seen, over the last five or six years, that appreciation is one of the easiest emotions to turn into positive recognition. With small tweaks in leader and managerial behaviour, other sectors have seen enormous change, helping reduce negative emotions. What’s more, it doesn’t need financial involvement. Behavioural shifts include saying ‘thank you’ more often and recognising when people are doing the right thing, rather than calling people out if they’ve done the wrong thing.”


About Inpulse

Inpulse provides real-time emotion-driven employee insights that improve engagement to help increase the performance of a company. The Inpulse team provides support, including analysis of data to bring unbiased perspectives to decision-makers.

Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

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