In association with Auckland-based K3 Consulting, BusinessDesk is backing the creation of a new Employee Confidence Index, drawing on our fast-growing readership base to create a snapshot of employee confidence across New Zealand.

As the number of participants grows, more granular industry, sector or company-wide versions of the index will become available.

We want your participation in what we believe will add a credible, new source of public data to help understand our country and the places we work, making the K3-BusinessDesk Employee Confidence Index an actionable barometer for managers and decision-makers.

We’re starting out easy, with just one key question, which we want you to answer:

Can't see the survey? Click here.

This survey is anonymous and not linked to your BusinessDesk subscription details in any way.

K3’s Marcus Morrison explains the Employee Confidence Survey:

For many businesses and organisations, confidence is the intangible ‘secret sauce’ that drives disproportionate performance and success.

So, the question is: what battles is a business losing every single day, both big and small, because of an individual – or more importantly a collective – lack of confidence?

We all understand the impact, and predictive nature, of business confidence and consumer confidence, but until now we haven’t had the methodology to truly understand how confident employees are about their organisation’s potential for current and future success. 

Ask yourself: do your employees believe the organisation has a strategy that is fit for purpose? Do they believe the organisation is adaptable and resilient?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you are more likely to have a thriving business. If the answer is no, then there’s clearly work to be done to ensure your staff understand the strategy and where they should be putting their discretionary effort.

With this in mind K3, in partnership with BusinessDesk, is launching the Employee Confidence Survey, the world’s first survey to measure the extent to which an individual employee feels confident in the current and future success of their organisation. 

The survey is designed to make the intangible nature of confidence tangible through understanding the drivers or detractors of confidence.

If you know which factors are eroding confidence and they’re within your control, you will have the opportunity to correct them to improve the business’s performance and outcomes.

To help gauge the current state of New Zealand’s employee confidence levels, we begin with a single baseline question, which anyone employed in any organisation around the country should answer. This will enable BusinessDesk and K3 to build a representative sample of the current state of employee confidence at a national level. 

This also leads to a deeper-level Employee Confidence Pulse Survey. The result of months of research and careful design by a psychologist, this 12-question survey is for business owners and leaders to measure their own employees’ confidence and gain actionable insights into how to improve it. 

Over time, we also aim to establish the link between business confidence and consumer confidence.

Why are New Zealanders less resilient?

Anecdotally, research popularised by American psychologist Martin Seligman* (1,2,3) suggests that New Zealanders’ resilience levels are lower than those of other international research populations. 

Part of this comes down to our attributional style – or the way in which we explain our successes and failures – which has proven links to our levels of resilience, wellbeing, and confidence more generally (4,5,6).  

Without resilience, people climb into a hole when they have had a setback; they stop working well with others, their efficiency wanes, and their home life can suffer. None of this drives businesses toward enhanced performance.

The Employee Confidence Pulse Survey sheds light on the specific factors reducing and enhancing employee confidence so that leaders can drive improvement in more targeted and effective ways.

While traditional engagement and staff surveys have been more backward-looking or have a point-in-time focus, confidence by its very nature is a forward-looking emotion and taps into employees’ understanding of their organisation’s strategic direction, leadership, adaptability, communication and internal alignment. 

It also measures whether staff understand how they will contribute to success, as well as ensuring they feel their career aspirations are going to be supported. 

The result is that employees should understand their role and purpose and the direction of the organisation, and have a heightened sense of belonging, as a result, driving higher output, greater innovation and more discretionary effort. 

Low employee confidence significantly increases the likelihood that an organisation will remain static or go backwards, customer satisfaction will rise, and confidence will erode further.

The hard questions

As the nationwide sample of employee confidence scores grows, and anonymised data is captured, questions that will continue to be raised include:

  • Are senior executives more or less confident than junior staff?
  • Is employee confidence greater for blue- or white-collar workers?
  • Are Auckland employees more or less confident than those in the rest of the country?
  • How does the confidence of men differ from that of women? 
  • Does lower business confidence create lower employee confidence or vice versa?

Increased employee confidence results in the following demonstrable impacts:

  • Increased sales.
  • Increased productivity. 
  • Increased overall business performance.
  • Increased ability for individuals to overcome challenges.

Best practice for strong employee confidence

  • Communicate your strategy often, with a focus on how you will execute it. Where are you going, and why? 
  • What is going to make it hard, and how are you going to get through it? 
  • Why should staff be confident about where they are and where they are going?
  • Make sure your teams are not slipping into silos. 
  • Are managers/team leaders doing enough one-on-one, and with their teams, to increase confidence as they should be doing? 

What to do next

If you haven’t already, fill in the single survey question above to contribute to the first-ever nationwide Employee Confidence Survey.

If you’re a business owner/employer you also have the opportunity to deploy the larger 12-question Employee Confidence Pulse Survey to your teams. 

All data collected is anonymous and can be used only to show results in totality, rather than at an individual level. 


  1. Seligman, M.E.P. (1991). Learned optimism. New York: Knopf. 
  2. Seligman, M.E.P. (2006). Sydney: Australian Financial Review Seminar.
  3. Seligman, M.E.P. (2011). Recovering from failure: Building resilience. Harvard Business Review 89, 100–106.

4. Johnson J, Panagioti M, Bass J, Ramsey L, Harrison R. Resilience to emotional distress in response to failure, error or mistakes: a systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 2017 52:19-42. 

5. George Mark & Andrew P. Smith (2012). Effects of occupational stress, job characteristics, coping, and attributional style on the mental health and job satisfaction of university employees, Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 25:1, 63-78, DOI: 10.1080/10615806.2010.548088 

6. Evan M. Kleiman, Alexandra M. Chiara, Richard T. Liu, Shari G. Jager-Hyman, Jimmy Y. Choi & Lauren B. Alloy (2017). Optimism and well-being: a prospective multi-method and multi-dimensional examination of optimism as a resilience factor following the occurrence of stressful life events, Cognition and Emotion, 31:2, 269-283.