Today, the work-home life separation is as mythical as a unicorn.
No one walks into their job or business and drops off their personal life in a neat, compact suitcase right outside the door. Personal challenges like divorce, health, isolation and finances linger on the mind and affect communication, relationships, management, leadership and productivity.
Not only are workers expected to manage their own issues, but they also have to step in and help with their manager’s issues – or suffer significant business consequences. How does a manager do that in today’s environment?
According to research by Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, 47 percent of employees say problems in their personal lives sometimes affect their work performance. More than 15 percent reported personal changes caused absenteeism, and nearly half said it was hard for them to concentrate.
Managers today are missing one of the leading problems affecting the corporate bottom line: the importance of what employees do outside of work. People come to work as one whole person, not divided as a business-self and a personal-self.
According to the Harvard Business Review, companies spend over $720 million each year on employee engagement. That is projected to rise to over $1.5 billion, and yet, employee engagement is at record lows: 13 percent, according to perennial engagement survey leader Gallup. Low employee engagement ends up costing the US economy between $450 and $550 billion a year in lost productivity.
What corporations are doing to engage employees just isn’t working. There needs to be a significant shift in corporate culture to maximize employee productivity, success, fulfillment and purpose. Three main areas to examine are: Work and relationships; external influences outside of work; and internal state and psychology.
There are patterns and outcomes that have shaped the employee’s experience, so it helps to find out what those are and evaluate the people who have the most influence over the employee. What is the state of those relationships? Strong or weak? Positive or negative? The quality of the employee’s social, communication, and emotional skill sets should also be a focus.
External influences outside of work should strike concern regarding what stress, trauma or drama might be affecting the employee’s personal life. Take a look at how the employee spends their time outside of work for an idea of what might be going on.
Lastly, the employee’s internal state is very important. What are the blind spots, limiting beliefs or patters holding that employee back? Can the employee both express their emotions in a healthy manner and show empathy to others they engage with? The employee’s values are vital to healthy decision making, and it’s important to know if the employee has a purpose and if so, what it is.
Corporations need to take initiative. Managers must take accountability for their personal lives and find their purpose. Ultimately, they must invest in the skill sets that will bring coworkers and management closer together, or at least to a better level of understanding.
Jason Treu is a Dallas-based business and executive coach is the author of the best seller, Social Wealth, the how-to-guide on building extraordinary business relationships. He’s been on more than 150+ podcasts, radio and TV shows in the past year. Jason has his JD and MA from Syracuse University.
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