Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why 80% of the Workforce is Unengaged

Reading on a new friends blog, who is an accomplished business woman in Ohio, she wrote a post quoting the following research.

The Gallup organization and Blessing White, among others who measure employee engagement, estimate that fewer than 20% of employees in the U.S. are fully engaged. The remaining 80% are in varying stages of disengaged, from slight disengaged to highly disengaged. 

I feel that the work force is not engaged in their work is simply that its not their work.  Can you remember being a kid and asking, "Why do I need to know this?"  Of coarse you do because we all asked it almost everyday.  See this is the first sign of disengagement.  This happens simply because we have no interest in the material.  Now lets fast forward to an employee in the work place.  They have been told so many times not to ask, "Why am I doing this?" or "Why do I have to do this?"  They have stopped asking, shut down, and accepted that life is all about doing what you don't want to do in order to make a living.  That my friends is why our economy is broken.  Disengagement which starts in our educational system and continues far in to the workforce, teaches complacency, mediocrity, and unproductive mentalities.

Lets think about the corporate environment.  Let say you have a rising young star full of life and focused on the mission at hand.  Want to know what happens to this poor young sole upon meeting its complacent older teammates?  They begin to blend in because its much easier then to stand out.  You see in most corporate work environments the employees just work hard enough not to get fired, and the employer pays them just enough not to quit.  What a beautiful match made in heaven.......

The other issue is management.  If someone tells me they are a manager I tell them we can't be friends.  See I am not interested in knowing managers, because I know I will always be an average of the people I hang around and I defiantly don't want the management disease to infect my mindset.  You maybe asking yourself why be so brash.  Well I will tell you that there is a big difference between managers and leaders.  A manager tells people what to do, however a leader shows people want to do everyday, moment by moment.  You want to know why so many talented people in the workforce are not engaged in what they are doing?  Very simple, they feel managed not lead.  They don't have a since of ownership, and they feel disconnected to the mission statement or don't even know what that statement is at all.  If you want a wake up call go around to each person in your organization and ask them, "What is our mission statement?"  If you don't get one consistent answer, there's the problem.

Did you know that if you ask the average employee what would make them happier at work, the answer is not more money.  The majority of employees want to belong to something bigger then themselves.  They want to feel like they are contributing to something.  This is the main difference I see in many organizations.  Corporate management style aways focuses on strategy, tactics, evaluations, fear, and dis-empowerment.  Where as organizational leadership style aways focuses on developing a culture of self-development and empowerment.

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