According to research, only 29 percent of employees are motivated and energized. What, then, is happening to the other two-thirds of the people working in organizations?
This is an even worse scenario than the old joke in which a manager is asked how many people work in his company and he responds, “About half of them.”
The statistics on workforce engagement are shocking.
What is cause of this loss of enthusiasm and commitment? Most people join an organization with engagement. What is it that extinguishes that initial engagement after the first few years of working in an organization? Here are some possible causes:
- Little or no feedback or guidance from those in charge
- Lack of opportunity to discuss problems or provide input
- Lack of resources to solve problems or to do a job well
- Little or no reward or recognition
- Little opportunity to develop one’s potential
- Pressure to perform and achieve more with less
- Lack of opportunity to interact socially
- Interpersonal conflicts left unresolved
- Little joy or humor except for office gossip and cynicism
- Stress in balancing work and home responsibilities, leading to energy depletion
Measuring Employee Engagement
Since 1997, the Gallup Organization has surveyed approximately 3 million employees in three hundred thousand work units within corporations. This survey consists of 12 questions—called the “Q12” — that measure employee engagement. Results show that those companies with high Q12 scores experience lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, better customer loyalty and other manifestations of superior performance.
The Gallup Management Journal’s semi-annual Employee Engagement Index puts the current percentage of truly “engaged” employees at 29 percent. A majority of workers, 54 percent, fall into the “not engaged” category, while 17 percent are “actively disengaged.”
Here is how the Gallup Organization defines these three types of employees:
- (29%) Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.
- (54%) Not-engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting in time—but not energy or passion—for their work.
- (17%) Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.
While leaders of organizations focus intense efforts on building shareholder value, they generally cannot control the stock market. What they should be worried about are the two-thirds of their workforce who are just going through the motions, putting in time at work without commitment. In fact, Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees—the least productive—cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity.
Tomorrow I will present Part Two – Handling Dis-engaged Employees.