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Key Takeaways From the 2023 Gallup at Work Summit

Key Takeaways From the 2023 Gallup at Work Summit

Story Highlights

  • Arianna Huffington revealed her own journey with burnout.
  • Vibhas Ratanjee explored the power of strengths-based leadership development.
  • Meisha-ann Martin uncovered how to help all employees thrive.

We had an incredible lineup of keynote speakers and session leaders at the 2023 Gallup at Work Summit who taught us invaluable lessons about what it means to create a thriving workplace. Whether we were learning about wellbeing in the workplace with Arianna Huffington, founder of Thrive Global, or exploring the power of a strengths-based culture with Ronald Mason, Jr., president of the University of the District of Columbia, our thirst for knowledge was satisfied in big ways at every turn at the 2023 Summit.

And yes, with so many important insights, it’s hard to choose favorites, but we just couldn’t resist highlighting these blockbuster messages.


Never underestimate the power of focusing on strengths.

In recounting his entry into the role of president at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), Ronald Mason, Jr., described how a small shift in thought made a big difference in his viewpoint.

Before he took the position of president, the UDC “had chronic bad press, a series of budget cuts and downsizing, and at the end of the day, it had 20 presidents and interim presidents over its first 40 years, which meant it wasn’t a very stable situation … but I learned [more about strengths] and what its philosophy was, so I asked a different question. Instead of focusing on the challenges, I asked myself, ‘Well, what is right with the University of the District of Columbia?’ And just by asking that simple question, I came up with an entirely different perspective.”

Arianna Huffington reminded us we don’t have to live with burnout.

After working herself to exhaustion while running HuffPost, Arianna Huffington came to a crucial realization: She had “bought into the collective delusion that in order to be a successful businesswoman and a good mom, you have to be on all the time.”

Her exhaustion led her to research burnout and its implications. “I studied the phenomenon,” she said, “and realized that this wasn’t just my personal problem. It was a global epidemic.”

1 Key Takeaways From the 2023 Gallup at Work Summit 508928

With the right help, all employees can thrive.

Meisha-ann Martin offered guidance on “what you can do to help employees thrive, no matter who they are and what they’re dealing with in life.” The senior director of people analytics and research at Workhuman encouraged audience members to recognize that “thriving may look different for different people because they have different needs, so in order to do wellbeing well, you have got to put an inclusive lens on it.”

Then she recommended that organizations design initiatives that make wellbeing part of business processes, taking special care to integrate wellbeing with recognition because “wellbeing and recognition go together like peanut butter and jelly.”

2 Key Takeaways From the 2023 Gallup at Work Summit 508928

Leadership development shouldn’t be an event but a practice.

Leadership habits matter to your entire organization, as Vibhas Ratanjee, a Gallup consultant, revealed. In his talk, Ratanjee declared, “You really can’t create thriving workplaces before you create thriving leadership teams.” Or, said another way, “When leaders thrive, organizations thrive.” To illustrate his point, Ratanjee said, “When employees strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization, they are four times as likely to be engaged.”

To reach this level of team effectiveness, Ratanjee recommends treating leadership development holistically, not as a single event, particularly recommending leadership development that deepens self-awareness, builds leadership awareness and drives organizational performance.

CliftonStrengths® are culturally dependent.

Gallup experts Amatoga Jeremie and Danny Lee engaged with a question that’s relevant to every single one of us because we each have a cultural background: Are CliftonStrengths expressed differently from culture to culture, and how do you coach CliftonStrengths cross-culturally?

When asking, “Do strengths show up differently in different cultures?” Lee responded, “The answer is absolutely they do.” But these differences don’t have to stand in our way, according to Jeremie. As she shared six strategies for coaching across cultures, Jeremie revealed one requirement for resolving cultural differences: “In order for cultures to be able to work together, we have to have a shared language. We have that. CliftonStrengths.”

We can stay in front of the future.

Disruptions can happen instantly and, according to Benjamin Erikson-Farr, bring the future to us. Trends and technologies on the horizon suddenly come to the fore, as when the COVID-19 pandemic brought hybrid and remote work to the world’s workplaces in a matter of weeks. According to Erikson-Farr, the world was already trending toward hybrid work. It was years away until the pandemic hit, but we don’t have to wait for the future to come to us. With the right data and insights, we can get ahead of the future rather than waiting for disruption to expedite it.

The Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award

Each year, we celebrate the Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award winners, and this year was no different. We recognized 57 organizations that elevate the way their employees work and live. Along with celebrating these winners, we announced Gallup’s 2023 Manager of the Year: Nick Reynolds of Enterprise Holdings! Nick is a living example of what the world needs more of -- great managers.

3 Key Takeaways From the 2023 Gallup at Work Summit 508928

Empowerment Through Individual Strengths: The Estée Lauder Companies Philosophy

Theresa Ralston, in her keynote, celebrated the power of the strengths philosophy, highlighting its transformative capacity. At Estée Lauder Companies, individuality is not just recognized but celebrated, fostering a culture where employees can show up as their authentic selves. This emphasis on individual strengths ensures a diversity of thoughts, paving the way for unparalleled innovation. Beyond titles and positions, every team member is encouraged, and in fact, expected to show up as their best self. Quoting William Lauder, Ralston reminds us that leadership transcends mere command; it’s about mentoring, coaching and nurturing talent. At its essence, it's about igniting moments of inspiration and having a lasting impact on people's lives.

That’s all for 2023. See you in 2024!

At this year’s Summit, we were thrilled to connect with so many passionate professionals and explore the essentials of thriving workplaces. We hope to see you next year on June 3-5!

Never miss an announcement about the 2024 Gallup at Work Summit: Sign up to receive updates, including when 2024 registration opens.

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