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Synopsis: Just a small minority of workers are happy on the job today. And pressures from inflation and a looming recession are adding fuel to the fire. Many workers are just watching the clock or thinking about changing jobs. Multiplied across a whole workforce, that could be costing businesses millions of dollars.
Below is an excerpt from a recent white paper from Explorance where we define our perspective on “Corporate Long Covid.” We sum up the effects of recent history on every workforce and breakdown what CEOs can do about it.
The overwhelming stresses of the past two years have changed workforces forever.
High levels of mental and physical stress can make anyone disengage or underperform at work. Multiplied thousands of times across a workforce, this becomes a serious problem that afflicts most enterprises today.
The statistics are overwhelming: Only a small minority of workers are happy on the job and engaged in their work.
How many workers are happy on the job?
- Only 1 in 3 (32%) American employees are happy and engaged in their work
- Half of all workers (51%) just watch the clock, do little, and collect their pay
- 1 in 6 workers (17%) are actively unhappy: undermining their teams, bad-mouthing their companies, and causing havoc
- More than half (52%) under 40 say they might change jobs this year
- Elsewhere, engagement is even lower: 20% in Australia and New Zealand, 16% in Middle East and Africa, and just 11% in Western Europe
Sources: Gallup, Microsoft
What happens when many employees underperform or leave?
Institutional memory becomes foggy. Skills are lost. People make mistakes. Customers are unhappy. Sales are lost. The enterprise bleeds from a thousand small cuts.
All these small gaps in individual performance ripple across your workforce and add up to a chronic condition we call Corporate Long Covid (CLC).
CLC refers to the lingering aftermath of recent events that wears down a workforce and undermines company performance.
Like Long Covid for individuals, CLC presents many symptoms and can be hard to diagnose. But it is real.
For example, CLC can produce a painful gap in skills between seasoned employees who left and new hires brought in to replace them. In such a tight job market, many managers hire anyone they can find to fill an empty slot, a process called “backfilling.”
This creates an ongoing gap in skills that will take years to overcome. And this hidden condition may be costing your enterprise millions of dollars.
Our research suggests it will take a typical enterprise five to seven years to recover from CLC. Can you afford that long?
How much is Corporate Long Covid costing your enterprise?
That’s tough to estimate without precise data. Here’s a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation.
- Suppose 1 in 4 of your employees had Covid: 25%
- And 1 in 4 of those have Long Covid or “brain fog:” 6.25%
- So 1 in 16 employees can’t perform anything like they used to
- Some go part-time, some need medical leave, and some take early retirement
- Add in productivity lost when many workers (up to 64% a year) leave
- Add in productivity lost from “backfill” new hires missing vital skills
- Add in lackluster efforts from 1 in 2 employees who are disengaged
- Add in destructive behavior from 1 in 6 employees who are actively disengaged
Across a workforce of 25,000 or 50,000 employees—or more—these factors can easily cost you millions of dollars.
Sources: AAPM&R, Gallup, National Geographic, U.S. Department of Labor
Executives in every company we speak with realize things are not the same as they used to be. But until now, no one has put a label on this malaise.
Why have you never heard of CLC until now?
Your corporate dashboard gives you a quick overview of sales, expenses, profits, and employee and customer experience metrics. But any dashboard only shows what it’s programmed to show.
The hidden cost of CLC is too new and too dispersed across your organization to appear on a dashboard.
From time to time, you may commission special research by in-house analysts or third-party consultants. An insightful consultant might be able to find some numbers for the post-Covid malaise, if you ask them to.
But has anyone directed your analysts or consultants to research this? If not, you won’t have any custom research on it yet.
So Corporate Long Covid will remain undiagnosed, a mysterious ailment that saps the energy of your workforce and costs your enterprise millions of dollars.
Jim Harter. “U.S. Employee Engagement Slump Continues.” Gallup. 25 April 2022. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/391922/employee-engagement-slump-continues.aspx
“Great Expectations: Making Hybrid Work Work.” Work Trend Index: 2022 Annual Report. Microsoft. 16 March 2022. Page 4. Retrieved 20 May 2022 from https://ms-worklab.azureedge.net/files/reports/2022/pdf/2022_Work_Trend_Index_Annual_Report.pdf
“State of the Global Workforce 2021 Report.” Gallup. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace.aspx
Corporate•Corporate Long COVID•Employee engagement•Employee insight solutions•Organizational experience•People insight solutions•