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Why Are Your Employees So Disengaged?


It may strike you as odd that the one resource we all talk about as being our most valued is the one we seem least able to use effectively–our people. Long called the most valuable asset, our workforce remains shockingly disengaged, according to research by The Gallup Organization. Why when asked do 69 percent of workers in this country categorize themselves as disengaged—which we could easily expand into disinterested and perhaps disheartened?  And of those disenfranchised workers, according to Gallup, what is even more unnerving is 29 percent go further and are actually categorized as “actively disengaged.” That means they cause trouble.

So, let me slow down a minute.

An engaged worker is an employee who takes initiative without being asked to help, initiative that helps advance the organization toward its goals. Sounds like a good thing, right? That’s an understatement! According to Gallup, organizations with high levels of engagement out-earn their competitive peers by as much as 30 percent.

So why are these engaged characters so rare? And, where do we get ‘em?

Is it just human nature for people to go to work and not care about their organization’s success, or is there something else going on? If you believe, as do I, that it IS human nature to want to make a difference, to want to be part of something bigger than we are, to be creative and clever and helpful, then you know blaming the people who work for us is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. Our people come to work excited by the possibilities and slowly but surely they disengage. We all know the optimism that fuels our energy in a new job; we think, “this could be the thing I have been looking for, a job where I can make a difference.”

Why do people disengage? Let me know what you think!

If you would like the full text of this article please drop me a note.

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  • About The Author

    John Bernard

    Website: http://www.massingenuity.com
    John Bernard ‘s work in redefining the fundamental drivers of business performance improvement has led to national recognition as a thought leader in employee engagement. As an equally experienced executive and consultant, his effective articulation of new ways of thinking about management and management systems has led to his forthcoming book, Engage to Win, The Surprising Secret to Extraordinary Employee Engagement. John is managing partner of Portland, Oregon based Mass Ingenuity at www.massingenuity.com. Check out John's book at www.engagetowin.com.Read Full
  • Terry Del Percio

    Hi John…I am very interested in seeing the full text of your article. I have an obsession for researching and consulting on the psychology of workplace issues; and why leaders operate in “denial” mode.

  • Guest

    I think that management needs to understand that when they dangle the promise of empowerment in front of their employees, they need to be ready to execute on that promise when employees step up. “Be careful what you wish for; you may get it!” Management that asks workers for suggestions on how to make the company better are often surprised by the depth and passion of the comments they receive, ideas that go far beyond cosmetic change to disruptive change. It's at this point that management, unprepared, backs off – and loses credibility and engagement in the process. Enough cycles of this, and even the most optimistic idealist will conclude that change isn't possible in that organization and become disengaged or simply look elsewhere for a place to make a contribution.

  • Liam Scanlan

    Yes, I'd like the full text of the article. Looks interesting. But How to I “drop you a note”? I don't see your email address anywhere…
    Thanks
    Liam

  • jtb

    Why not just post the article up front instead of making us contact you for it? The extract provided is of little value to me. thanks for listening.

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