skip to main content

Employee Wellbeing

What We Measure
We measure how employees experience their lives. Key wellbeing measures include life evaluation, daily negative emotions, burnout and how strongly employees believe their organization cares about their wellbeing.
Global Employee Life Evaluation
Why it matters

Why Does Employee Wellbeing Research Matter?

Thriving employees fuel a thriving workplace -- and when employees are struggling, experiencing negative emotions or feeling burned out, your organization can suffer.

When we measure wellbeing, our aim is to discover and quantify the extent to which employees are living their best possible lives. We measure it in a few ways. Gallup’s overall wellbeing metrics measure life evaluation by tracking thriving, struggling and suffering rates among employees. We also measure daily negative emotions, burnout and how much employees believe their organization cares about their wellbeing.

Life Evaluation


Daily Negative Emotions


Workplace Burnout

Organization Cares About Employees’ Wellbeing

Life Evaluation

Gallup’s Life Evaluation Index measures respondents’ perceptions of where they stand now and in the future. Building on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale, Gallup measures life satisfaction by quantifying the difference between the best possible life and the worst possible life using a simple, two-part question -- Gallup’s Best Possible Life Scale. Gallup asks respondents to place the status of their current and future lives on a “ladder” scale with steps numbered from zero to 10, where zero indicates the worst possible life and 10 the best possible life:

Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. Suppose we say that the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you, and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you.

On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time? (0-10)

Just your best guess, on which step do you think you will stand in the future, say about five years from now? (0-10)

Thriving, Struggling and Suffering

Gallup classifies respondents into one of three categories of wellbeing (thriving, struggling or suffering) and determines the percentage of respondents in each category. Individuals who rate their current life a 7 or higher AND their future life an 8 or higher are “thriving.” Individuals are “suffering” if they rate their current AND future lives a 4 or below. All other individuals are “struggling.”

Thriving: These respondents have positive views of their present life situation (7 or higher rating on current life) and have positive views of the next five years (8 or higher rating on future life). They report significantly fewer health problems and less worry, stress, sadness, depression and anger. They report more hope, happiness, energy, interest and respect.

Struggling: These respondents struggle in their present life situation and have uncertain or negative views about their future. They report more daily stress and worry about money than thriving respondents do.

Suffering: These respondents rate their present life situation poorly (4 or below rating on current life) and have negative views of the next five years (4 or below on future life). They are more likely to report that they lack the basics of food and shelter and more likely to have physical pain and a lot of stress, worry, sadness and anger. They have less access to health insurance and healthcare and more than double the disease burden compared with thriving respondents.


Gallup’s burnout data reflect experiences of full-time U.S. employees.

Additional Methodology Details

Global wellbeing data are collected using the Gallup World Poll, which has conducted surveys of the world’s adult population, using randomly selected samples, since 2005. The survey is administered annually in person or by telephone, covering more than 160 countries and areas since its inception. Gallup’s global wellbeing data reflect the responses of adults, aged 15 and older, who are employed for any number of hours by an employer.

Results for the Gallup poll of U.S. employees are based on self-administered web surveys of a random sample of adults who are aged 18 and older, working full time or part time for organizations in the United States, and members of the Gallup Panel. Gallup uses probability-based, random sampling methods to recruit its Panel members. Gallup weighted the obtained samples to correct for nonresponse. Nonresponse adjustments were made by adjusting the sample to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education and region. Demographic weighting targets were based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

In line charts on this webpage, Gallup labels some data points with a year and month. Years that have only one data point labeled with the year and "Jan" (abbreviated for "January") reflect annual survey results. Years that have one data point labeled with a specific month besides January or that have multiple data points labeled with specific months reflect results obtained during the noted month(s). Exceptions: Several data points reflect the quarterly average of three separate monthly surveys; quarterly averages are labeled with the quarter’s middle month (i.e., February, May, August, November). When Gallup’s survey field dates for one data point occur in more than one month (e.g., Aug. 28-Sept. 13), Gallup labels the data point with the ending month.

The Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index items are Gallup proprietary information and are protected by law. You may not administer a survey with the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index items or reproduce them without written consent from Gallup. Copyright © 2008 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

Related Content

Wellbeing Initiatives Belong in Every Organization

These data are more than just numbers. Check out this content for an in-depth look at how wellbeing trends affect employees and their workplaces.

Featured Article

Can Great Management Improve Mental Health?

As humanity has made material progress, mental health has declined. The workplace can contribute to poor mental health -- but it may also solve it.

Read More about how Can Great Management Improve Mental Health?

Featured Article

1 in 5 Employees Worldwide Feel Lonely

Globally, 20% of employees feel lonely, with younger and fully remote workers feeling it most. Learn how work itself can decrease loneliness and what else leaders can do to help.

Read More about 1 in 5 Employees Worldwide Feel Lonely

Featured Content

What Is Employee Wellbeing and Why Does It Matter?

Wellbeing encompasses much more than just physical health. Explore this deep dive on the subject of employee wellbeing, covering topics from how to measure wellbeing to how it affects employee engagement.

Read Moreabout What Is Employee Wellbeing and Why Does It Matter?

Next Steps

How Does Your Workplace Compare?

Global and regional data tell a story -- but the story of your organization is different. Check out the options below for next steps or solutions:

See why employee wellbeing research matters to your organization and how you can create a wellbeing strategy for your workplace.

Learn More

Discover the causes, signs and symptoms of burnout -- and ways to prevent it -- in “How to Prevent Employee Burnout.”

Get the Details

Uncover solutions for prioritizing wellbeing in the workplace. Partner with Gallup to learn how to build a thriving workplace.

Reach Out to Us

Get Connected