‘Disengaged Employees: The New Normal’ – (Hint: It doesn’t have to be.)

Here is a great article by my long-time friend, Mark Sheffert of Manchester Companies:  “Disengaged Employees: The New Normal – Workers who don’t care will eat up your profits”. In it Mark discusses some of the findings of Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders.”

So why are employees so disengaged? Well, I have some thoughts around that:

  1. For too many years, they have been pushed to the limit and asked to give more and more. Their colleagues have been laid off and they’ve been left to take on more responsibility, many times with no acknowledgement of that added responsibility (pay or job grade).
  2. They are expected to be “on-call” and connected 24/7 or close to it. Few can expect to take a vacation and really unplug from work which is actually a good thing. It refreshes the mind and soul and increases productivity.
  3. Companies have become more in love with profits and shareholders than employees. Now I’m not saying significant attention shouldn’t be paid to profits and shareholders, but I am saying that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers – and that, my friends, leads to increased profits.

Have you ever worked for a company with a lousy culture? Have you ever worked for a company with a great culture?  Which one did you prefer?

Companies today seem to forget that at the end of the day, it all comes down to people. People run our companies; people are our customers, our suppliers. If we don’t listen, respond and actively engage with our employees, how can we expect them to be engaged with us?

Mark’s right: This is a problem that business leaders simply can’t ignore. It’s costing all of us money. “Gallup research shows that managers from hell are creating active disengagement, costing the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually,” says Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton in the (Gallup) report.

Think your company isn’t part of this large scale trend? Think again. Then do something about it.


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