Most companies today completely misunderstand employee engagement data, making policy decisions that often make the situation worse instead of better. No wonder 87% of today’s workforce is disengaged.

For example, when survey results claim that engaged employees are happier in their careers, most companies spin their wheels trying to get an employee to be more engaged. They hold contests, or offer more employee recognition, more training, or even bring in high-priced motivational speakers.

The truth, however, is that employee engagement does not cause happiness. It’s the other way around. Happiness and fulfillment in non-work areas of a persons life open the doors for them to be more engaged at work.

Companies have spent decades and billion of dollars trying to solve the problem from the wrong direction.

Gallup: What The World Wants Is A Good Job

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 9.56.10 AMConsider this section from Gallup’s State Of The Global Workplace survey. It is filled with fantastic data, but the conclusions are drawn from the wrong direction.

Engaged employees are almost two times as likely as those who are actively disengaged to report that their companies are hiring new people or expanding. By contrast, actively disengaged employees report that their companies are reducing workforces at rates almost three times that of the engaged population.

Expanding businesses don’t cause employees to be engaged. Businesses with higher levels of engagement are more likely to be successful and grow.

When employees feel engaged and productive at work, it positively affects their lives at work and beyond the workplace as well. Engaged employees assess their overall lives more highly than not engaged or actively disengaged employees. They also report more positive day-to-day emotional states and interactions with others than their less engaged peers.

This conclusion is completely backwards. Engagement at work doesn’t causes people to be happier at home. People who are happier outside of work are more likely to be engaged and productive at work.Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 10.13.53 AM

Engaged employees were more than three times as likely to be thriving in their overall lives as those who were actively disengaged. This relationship is meaningful because employees who are both engaged in their jobs and thriving in their overall lives are less likely to be thrown off course by organizational changes or disruptions in their personal lives.

Again, the conclusion is backwards. It should read: “Employees thriving in their overall lives were three times as likely to be engaged at work.” Forcing unhappy people to be engaged at work is like forcing a square peg into a round hole. It won’t work.

Instead, companies should focus on helping people thrive in their personal lives. Not only will they be three times as likely to be engaged at work, but they will be more loyal to a company that actually cares about their personal happiness.

The ZIDIWORK Solution

What if, instead of motivating people to be successful employees, companies motivated their employees to be successful people?

We believe that inspired, fulfilled, happy people become amazing, loyal, engaged employees. We believe companies that embrace this shift in thinking will attract and retain the best talent in the coming decades.

Our ZIDIWORK Platform is designed to help change a company’s culture to value employee happiness and well-being because those efforts will result in a happier and more engaged workforce.

The Platform includes regular ZIDI Surveys, which ask the questions about work-life balance, happiness outside of work, and personal goals. These results give companies the actionable insight they need to make an impactful difference in the happiness (and loyalty) of their workforce.

To get started, please contact sales or try our Platform free for two weeks.