Want to know the state of the workforce starting 2019? You don’t have to look past statistics on employee engagement. An end-of-year article in Forbes stated that according to Gallup polls, global employee engagement is around 15%. Another statistic is workers believe in their company’s values is at 27%. You need nothing else to know that current leaders in companies do not know what they are doing.

One would wonder, what are companies spending their time being concerned with, if not about their employee’s state of well-being?

I’ve been studying employee engagement statistics for a long time and we are at all-time lows.

The Forbes article cities a few ways to turn around these negative statistics that are supported and discussed in more detail in my upcoming book.

Fact is, our hyper driven society has been working harder and longer for quite some time now, for me it’s been 20 years since I graduated college during the dotcom days. So really, at this point, all generations are prone to being overworked and will experience burnout. Let’s be fair about it, no matter how old you are, if you are a motivated person, you like to work hard.  “Work Hard Play Hard” is the adage right?  It’s not “Work Hard, No Play…Just Work Hard.” If companies want hard working, motivated and engaged employees they have to look in the mirror and recognize that what they are doing is absolutely not working, in fact we’ve hit the bottom. Employee health and happiness matters.

William Arruda from Forbes wrote “Sick employees can’t be physically engaged, much less emotionally engaged, and companies that prioritize work-life balance achieve the added bonus of creating relationships of mutual caring between employees and the organization.”

One of the solutions in my book is for companies to start implementing ESOP’s or Employee Stock Ownership Plans. These plans are a way for companies to provide their workforce with an ownership interest in the company. When this happens it’s an opportunity for a company to tell its employees that they have a vested interest. From my research, ESOP’s offer folks an opportunity to reach true engagement, after all, they get a piece of the pie. 

William states “it’s the most direct way to give employees a vested interested in the company’s success. It’s hard to stay engaged if you think that the company’s real mission is just to line the pockets of the company’s top executives.

A third point made in the article is vacation. According to the Priceline Work-Life Balance Report, “20% of full-time workers are expected to reach the end of this year without using all of their vacation time.” William writes, “Have you or your team members been leaving vacation days on the table? If so, it’s probably because you’re corporate culture frowns on a full week of down time—or it’s because your team is stretched too thin, and there’s not enough staff to cover when someone takes a real vacation.”

I will tell you that at a couple of my past employers it was frowned upon when folks used their vacation days. These “work till you drop” cultures are not “bringing the engagement.” Ask any life coach and they will tell you balance is the key to a happy and prosperous life.  It is the key to life! Yet we are ever more bombarded by employers and media glorifying work, work, and more work as if its a sign of greatness.  I bought into that for a long time during my career and I had great successes but not much of a life outside of work. It’s a bunch of baloney because working yourself into anxiety, stress, burnout and not enjoying your life – that is no way to live.

So here’s my take – companies are going to find it much harder to make record breaking productivity goals and they are paying tremendous costs in employee retention when employee engagement numbers come in at these awful statistical numbers. I thought it was terrible when the numbers were at 35% about 5 years ago. These horrifying statistics tell us we have gotten much worse. Two takeaways: Current senior leadership are very poorly out of touch with their societal needs. The other is that can only go up from here and companies can start by reversing some old habits and implement new strategic visionary plans. There’s no other way to view these black and white statistics. We must do better – now.

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The article I cited: http://bit.ly/2LA0QRs