The majority of employees today lack a stong emotional connection to their work.
The attitudes and work behaviors that result include apathy, disengagement, entitlement and an unwillingness to put forth necessary effort.
I was a motivational keynote speaker for a group of education administrators where the other guest speaker created a lively discussion about the challenge with employee commitment.
She started by sharing the statistic that nearly two thirds of workers are actively disengaged at work.
Some of the reasons sited why employees lack engagement were:
- Organizations have downsized and cut back employees creating widespread distrust. People become more concerned with worrying about their future than their work.
- Jobs have been reorganized( where paperwork replaces people) to the extent where people just give up. It is hard to identify with your work when the work keeps evolving and becoming de-personalized.
- Employees now have the upper hand as they are able to find, dissect and utilize the most important commodity available today, information. They can do so at a much faster, efficient and accessible manner than organizations.
- Dwindling Teawork and Group mentality. Once several employees are disengaged and only putting in half an effort, often many will follow suite. It is hard to remain engaged when nobody else is.
- Engagement is measured and described by behaviors ( enthusiastic, positive, committed, etc) and these are not easy to track or reward.
- Leadership has to evolve to understand and motivate today's changing and diverse workforce. With huge advances in living standards and employee expectations, leaders who have not evolved from the control and command style of leadership will not engage employees.
The challenge in north america today is to create a work context where people want to make a contribution. I once listened to a motivational keynote speaker tell a story about an employee who literally studied how little work he could do and still keep his job. If only he funneled this effort into the work itself!
I would arge that when people do not show pride and advocate for an organization utimately they become complacent and stop caring about their jobs.
I enjoyed being a motivational keynote speaker for the educators, my motivational speech was the Nerve to Serve... Say Hello to Humor & Goodbye to Burnout!
Engagement matters because people matter – they are your only competitive edge. It is people, not machines that will make the difference and drive the business.
(MacLeod and Clarke, 2009)