Why Employee Engagement Should be Top of Mind for Every Leader

Headline – Employee Engagement in the workplace has experienced zero improvement over the last 40 years!

Using engagement as a measurement of productivity and effectiveness, Gallup reports on average, only 30% of employees have been engaged at work over the past 18 years.*. This statistic has been fairly consistent over many years, even decades, in spite of the massive amount of focus on leadership through the thousands of books published and the proliferation of MBA programs. We are not moving the needle toward progress and are thereby stuck.

Basically, 70% of Americans at work (150 million) don’t really want to be working at their present place of employment, so they only do the bare minimum to keep their jobs. Worse yet, they are the toxic employees who negatively infect their workplace. This is a failure of leadership.

Is this really the best we can do? Are there ways to turn these uninspiring statistics around? The answer is yes, but there is work to be done.

The way ahead is through bringing on the next paradigm when thinking about the nature of people, work, and how we come together to make things happen. This new paradigm has already begun in many organizations. While still far too few in number statistically, this has been changing over the past 20 years as more and more leaders are stepping into their own authenticity, are expanding their own levels of self-awareness, and are showing up in their roles more powerfully.

The current paradigm in business and work, which has been around for the last 200 years, is centered on an “ownership-management” paradigm. Our system places the needs of the owners and those at the upper levels of management in first-position. While the current paradigm has been at the fore-front of countless improvements, and has driven prosperity upward while reducing poverty, it also has its short-comings. It is based on a belief system that sees scarcity and limits all around, believes the most-fit should survive, winners should take all, and (s)he who puts their own money at risk should reap the rewards.

The level of consciousness of the conditioned self (ego) of this paradigm is driven by greed, the need for more, and protecting what’s one’s own. Egoism in the management ranks is focused on control and power, is mistrusting of people, and also seeks to further self-interests. Ego at the employee level centers on many forms of fear, as in the fear of losing one’s job should an employee displease the boss.

This paradigm, while the creator of so many great things in our lives and world, is also limiting the human spirit from becoming more fully aware, more alive, more authentic – and more engaged. The results of this paradigm give us unacceptably low levels of employee engagement in all industries and areas of work.

The new leadership paradigm is driven by authentic leadership. It comes from a higher level of awareness that has at its center the “primacy of the human being.” This transformational perspective integrates the four key aspects of being human: the physical needs, mental strengths, emotional dynamics, and our spiritual capacities. People are not seen as means to an end, they are valued as partners, and are invited into the flow of information and decision-making. Ego gives way to authenticity, and people are welcomed to more fully ‘show-up’ at work, where their personal values, passions, gifts and sense of purpose come alive. This aliveness allows them to offer more of themselves voluntarily and delivers higher levels of focus, effort, and outcomes. When people align with their organization’s sense of mission and culture, they naturally, easily become more engaged, giving more of themselves and being of higher service to the organization’s stakeholders.

It is time for a new vision for our places of work, driven by elite leaders who are ready to transform the way we do business and work together. Are you an Elite Leader? Are you ready to become one? Join me in this work – it will be the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do!

* Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Through Gallup Daily tracking, Gallup categorizes workers as “engaged” based on their responses to key workplace elements it has found that predict important organizational performance outcomes. Over nearly two decades, the annual percentage of engaged U.S. workers has ranged from a low of 26% in 2000 and 2005 to the recent six-month high of 34% in 2018. On average, 30% of employees have been engaged at work during the past 18 years.


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