Rising employment isn’t good news: here’s why

Your bad jobs are hurting the economy

You may take issue with the above statement. After all, with unemployment going down, surely you’re doing something right? In theory, but as is often the case, the numbers don’t tell the full story. More people are in work, but fewer people are enjoying their jobs. And as the chief executive of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Matthew Taylor, told the Telegraph, ‘We all know the UK has a productivity problem. This problem is complex and multifaceted but there is little doubt that one facet is bad work’.

We should all be happy about falling unemployment numbers but the focus seems to have skewed too heavily towards getting people into work, rather than what work they’ll be doing and whether they’ll enjoy it. And the economy is suffering as a result, according to Gallup. Experts in this area, they’ve referred to this ongoing situation as ‘The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis’, and cited its consequences as having ‘lasting repercussions for the global economy’.

Your millennial staff hate their work

Employee engagement is among its lowest with those who are new to the workforce. A 2014 Deloitte survey found ‘More than 70 percent of Millennials expect their employers to focus on societal or mission-driven problems; 70 percent want to be creative at work; and more than two-thirds believe it is management’s job to provide them with accelerated development opportunities in order for them to stay’.

Young people come out of the educational wheelhouse, optimistic and excited about the prospect of employment that will be worth the tough slog they’ve been through, yet so often this excitement is for nothing. They find themselves in unengaging work that doesn’t satisfy their interests, and don’t work to their full potential as a result. Incidentally, who could blame them? Having spent their entire life in education with the looming spectre of unemployment goading them to work harder and forcing them to ‘pass the test’ at any cost, they then get the fabled ‘job’, only to find out they’re a disposable pair of hands. ‘Sorry, most of that work was for nothing’, the spectre says, gleefully.

And you’re not doing the right things to engage the rest

Unengaged employees of all ages won’t invest fully in their job, while those who enjoy their work do and produce better results. This seems fairly obvious, but if you need convincing, Personal Group recently published a report claiming ‘employee engagement could improve GDP by one percent’. It posits confident leadership, a supportive yet constructive network for failure, and most of all, trust, as the keys to unlocking this heightened productivity. These things clearly aren’t being practiced and proliferated anywhere near enough, or we wouldn’t be talking about a ‘Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis’.employee-engagement

So, how can you change this?

Well, speaking as one of those ‘disengaged millennials’, I can vouch for JPC’s Make Your Own Career (MYOC) programme’s ability to contradict at least the first half of that somewhat reluctantly accepted moniker. Joining the team as an MYOCer, from day one I had no time to ponder whether or not I was engaged, because I was, and like most good things you tend not to think about them much when they’re happening. The work is tough and the pressure is intense, but you always strive to live up to the challenge thanks to mindful guidance and motivation from dedicated senior team members who’ve been there and done that. Our MD Claire explained how it works not long ago — but as a summation I just think of it as being thrown in at the deep end, only with really buoyant armbands.

Yet while this programme is aimed at young, first-time employees, the ethos behind it is universal in everything we do and applies to everyone who works at JPC. We are, first and foremost, a values-led business. One of those values is employee investment: the more you engage your employees, stoke their ambition, and support their progression, the better work they will produce. Stick to these ideas and feed them into every facet of your company culture. Your employees will enjoy their work, your company will thrive, and suddenly we’re one step closer to a flourishing economy. Everyone wins but more importantly no-one loses.

Infographic Credit: Personal Group

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