Engage: Work isn’t working.
Numbing numbers. How many times can you look at the latest engagement statistics without become callous or indifferent to the low levels of engagement and high levels of disengagement around the world. I think the appropriate response in not callousness but caring. Here is a late July distressing report from Hewitt.
Percent of Organizations with Falling Engagement Scores Triples in Two Years, with Most Notable Drops Occurring This Year. While the economy is slowly recovering, a recent analysis by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company, shows employee engagement and morale in the workplace are not. Almost half of organizations around the world saw a significant drop in employee engagement levels at the end of the June 2010 quarter — the largest decline Hewitt has observed since it began conducting employee engagement research 15 years ago. This highlights the growing tension between employers — many of which are struggling to stabilize their financial situation — and employees, who are showing fatigue in response to a lengthy period of stress, uncertainty and confusion brought about by the recession and their company’s actions.
I am mad as hell. I am tired of seeing the numbers and beginning to feel numb to those numbers. As Peter Finch’s character, Howard Beale, ranted in Network, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” I don’t feel the need to shout this out or to have a TV show, I do feel the need to take action, massive individual and collective action on a local, organizational, and global scale to stop the epidemic of disengagement and turn things around for everyone’s wellbeing.
Unacceptable. Put simply, disengagement is not acceptable! There is no level of acceptable disengagement, not 30%, not 20%, not 10%, not 1%. I know I am an idealist and I will be pleased if you call me this and I will not stop being an idealist if I can play a role in ensuring work works for everyone.
Disengagement hurts. We need to eradicate disengagement for the benefit of all. It hurts employees. It hurts organizations. It hurts economies. It hurts families. It hurts customers. It hurts shareholders. It just plain hurts.
There is something about Mary. Behind every statistic there is a story and an impact on so many people. For example, Mary who at 42 and 21 years of working has grown weary of work, indifferent to her peers, and settling into the least she can do to keep her job while dreaming that there is some more engaging work elsewhere. Mary comes home and lacks energy for parenting while her children continually hear about the jerks she works with and how awful her job is as she and her husband Martin have a few drinks before supper to unwind. I don’t believe disengagement is genetic, but I do believe children will learn their attitudes towards work by watching and listening to their parents.
Martin can’t manage. Martin, Mary’s husband, is a manager at a large insurance firm and he has been tasked with creating more engagement for his staff while his energy is at an all time low and there is no excess capacity for any additional work. He feels frustrated by 3 of his staff who are very disengaged and in the past 6 months he has found himself avoiding them as much as possible. The irony is that he complains about his disengaged staff and yet is quite disengaged from them. Martin is lacking in both the ability and motivation to change disengagement to engagement with his reports.
Trigger action not helplessness or hopelessness. The statistics and stories of disengagement are not triggers for inertia and passivity, they need to function as triggers for gumption, connection, conversation, action. We are not helpless. The situation is not hopeless. Trigger action with responses to:
- What can I do right now to be more engaged?
- What can I do right now to help engage others?
- What can I do right now to contribute to greater engagement within your organization and around the world?
The Call to Action: A 20% Global Increase in Employee Engagement by 2020. This is my WILD (Woolly & Wow, Intentional & Improvised, Lived & Loved, Declared & Dedicated) Employee Engagement Goal. I will write more about WILD goals in a future blog post and I will write more about this specific goal but for now I am very comfortable with this declared yet untamed goal that is “out there.”
A proud idealist. I am proud to be considered idealistic if that means an unwillingness to be defeated by the mythical tyranny of disengaged working.
Let’s make a difference. If it is to be, it is up to we.
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David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement. He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the over 2900 member Employee Engagement Network. David’s book, Zengage: How to Get More Into Your Work to Get More Out of Your Work will be released this September. David’s website offers 1100 free posts/articles on the engagement. David is committed to fostering a movement to increase employee engagement 20% by 2020.
Connect with David Zinger today to improve engagement where you work.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Phone 204 254 2130 – Website: www.davidzinger.com