Employee Disengagement: A Side Effect of Non-Evolving Organizations
In a meeting today with The Persimmon Group’s CEO, I heard something that caught my attention. He said “the world that we grew up in is not the world that we are growing into.” Although change is necessary, it may not register that the standard way of work needs to evolve as well. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, more than 100 million full-time employees make up the American workforce. Of those 100 million, only one-third are what Gallup considers engaged at work. In contrast, 16% of employees are actively disengaged. They are unhappy in their work and actively undermine what their engaged employees contribute. The remaining 51% of the workforce are not engaged – they show up to work and do what is required, but that’s about it. Thinking about these statistics prompts the
question; is the workplace in need of constructive disruption?
On a basic level, employees have a need to satisfy four elements that lead to employee engagement; basic needs, individual needs, teamwork needs, and personal growth needs. These needs, if fulfilled, complement one another in a way that breed employee satisfaction. For example, a team member may be assigned a new task that he/she doesn’t have the software to complete or maybe an employee that thrives in a team environment is placed in a cube. Organizations need to modernize the way they go about achieving this type of satisfaction. A simple engagement survey won’t suffice in this generation of technology and innovation. Even Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup Inc., knows “the very practice of management no longer works.” So, how can leaders and organizations successfully promote employee engagement when “only about one in five [employees] say their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work (6)?”
The workplace must evolve in order to create a robust culture of employee engagement. One technique that is often overlooked is simply showing interest in the employee’s needs. Often times, employees have received mixed signals regarding what’s expected of them which can inadvertently push them in the opposite direction. Employees want to succeed and respond to initiative. Studies show there is a discrete correlation between engaged managers cultivating engaged employees. Gallup’s research demonstrates that organizations which successfully attain employee engagement see 41% lower absenteeism, 24% lower turnover (high-turnover organizations), 40% fewer quality incidents, 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales, and 21% higher profitability (State of the American Workplace). By actualizing a culture of engagement, starting from the top down, organizations can take a step towards achieving higher levels of employee satisfaction and productivity.
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