Work does define us and yet only 11% of employees are enthused about their work

Something does not add up?

By Chris Sheppardson, Managing Director, EP

Work does generally defines us as people. Rightly or wrongly, most people’s perception of another is related to their work. It may not be right and we have all probably made poor decisions about a person from their work.

The stats tell us that only 11% of employees are enthused and engaged in their work v 70% in the strongest organisations. 63% of employees do not trust their leaders. 70% of people say they don't feel satisfied with their career choices. It is sad reading. The good news is that it very easily sort-able, if companies both start to communicate their visions to employees once again and if leadership teams really start to develop talent again.

It is true that there are many companies that will argue that they have invested back into L&D in the last two years but again research states that fewer employees find training of value and on the job training has fallen year on year over the last decade. There is also less informal mentoring within businesses as managers feel pressured and too busy to give the time.

Yes there will be many companies that will say that their internal comms are excellent – which must explain why less than 24% believe that their companies possess any real values or vision beyond increased profits?

People have always been tribal by nature. People want to follow those that really do stand for something. I always recall one of industry’s leading players tell me that the bosses that one remembers at the end of their career are those that do stand for something more than profit. Teams are inspired by standing for something more. We live in a world which has never had a higher standard of living and which possesses so much potential to really start to make a difference and yet so many people today are searching for a new meaning.

1:10 suffer depression. 1:4 will suffer mental illness in their careers. How many times have you heard about people who end up sick, depressed, divorced, abusing substances, etc., because they're unhappy with their careers?

What if they liked their jobs instead?

Couldn’t this significantly improving attitudes toward work have a huge impact on the health and welfare of our society?

Wouldn’t be good to see companies once again stand for people once again? The strongest cultures always seem to possess the same core attributes:

  • Strong L&D where people do believe that they will be trained and developed
  • Where diverse teams do play key roles
  • Where leaders do communicate strongly and praise their teams
  • Where the organisation does strive for the exceptional – best in class, for playing a key role, for creating real change.

It is all natural – people want to be proud of their work and their company. They want to be impressive. They want others to respect what they do. It does not cost much to create greater pride. It does vision. It does care towards good people. Most companies will argue that they do possess both of these attributes. The problem is that employees do not feel it – they don’t believe often that it is genuine.

It is estimated that by 2022, 40% of the working population will be working on a freelance basis. In the US, by 2020 the number will be 50%. People want to belong so if they are opting out there is a reason. Work is too important to how we all feel about ourselves. There is a need for companies to work harder at ensuring that people do believe that they valued and working towards something that can be excellent.