Leaders Need To Close The Continuous Gap in Employee Engagement
After leading team member development, employee engagement is the number one role of every leader. The more engaged your team members the higher your results will be.
Most managers and leaders think that leading people is only about attaining desired performance results and helping people cope with, accept, and implement change.
I would argue that great leaders accomplish great results and implement change by focusing on employee engagement. Great leaders know that performance results and change implementation are actually best derived from the engagement and motivation of team members.
Unfortunately, employee engagement remains stubbornly stagnant at unacceptably low levels.
In late 2013, the Deloitte Center for the Edge surveyed approximately 3000 workers in the U.S. across 15 industries. The results showed that almost 88% of those surveyed do not contribute to their full potential in their jobs because they do not have passion for their work. That leaves just 12% of the U.S. workforce possessing what Deloitte calls “the attributes of worker passion.”
Employee engagement should be a critical concern of all leaders today, but apparently it is not. I say this because Gallup has been monitoring employee engagement around the world for years, and the needle hardly ever moves. Either few leaders are taking employee disengagement seriously, or their actions are ineffective.
Gallup, which has been tracking employee engagement since 2000, constantly reports employee engagement scores in the U.S. around 32% and at an even more dismal 13% worldwide. Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.
Perhaps even worse, the on-going Gallup research into employee engagement also shows a steady rate of actively disengaged employees in the 16% to 18% range at any time. With nearly one in five workers being actively disengaged, it is little wonder that workplace disruption, drama, and conflict are everyday occurrences. Additionally, Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses $450 billion to $550 billion annually in lost productivity.
Leaders at all levels of organizations should be greatly concerned that roughly 70% of American workers showing up for work uninterested in their jobs, not enthusiastic about their work, or uncommitted to delivering their best performance day in and day out.
The fact that these employee engagement figures have been fairly steady for almost two decades shows that there is a huge gap between leaders knowing about employee disengagement and being successful at creating and executing solutions to this problem.
This article is excerpted from my book Great Leadership Words of Wisdom, which is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats and has over 1000 quotes on leadership from global business leaders, statesmen, athletes, coaches, sages, and philosophers.