Who Wants a Disengaged Employee?

In 2017 Gallup reported that 70% of the US workforce is unengaged! That is a 3 point jump over 2015. How does that happen? I hear all the time from clients and colleagues, “I can’t find good employees.” Is it because the quality of employees has declined? Or is something else at work?

Victor Lipman reported in Forbes that one of the top three reasons employees are not engaged is that they are not recognized. Or another way to say that is they are not seen. It’s declined from 31% reporting being recognized to 26%.

Do we really think that employees enter the workforce and they don’t want to work? Was that your attitude? Is it your children’s? I don’t think so.

Disengaged employees are a symptom. They are symptom of a system that is broken.

Distraction – How many of you sit at your desk with your computer in front of you? What is open on your computer? Email?  Even when the computer is not up I’ll bet your device is in hand.

I remember Tom (not his real name). He and I were going through the orientation round in training. He was riding with me to meet my accounts and to see where I could grow. Over the course of three days Tom had his device in hand or his laptop open 80% of the time. He was not present with me. I have to admit he could rally for a meeting with an account. But as far as his new asset me, was concerned he was checked out.

I left the firm after 11 months. It just didn’t work out.

Too Busy (Distraction again) – Have you noticed how people like to compare how busy they are? My experience is that they are busy but in many cases it’s like they are on a rocking horse; busy going nowhere.  The idea that we can multi-task takes an enormous toll on our work. Every time we switch tasks it can take anywhere from three minute to fifteen minutes or more to come back on task. And now the inertia and momentum we had on our task is gone and we have to recreate it.  So I observe people leaping from task to task and always struggling to be present with what is in front of them. Particularly when it’s an employee.

The time we schedule one to one with our employees is perhaps the most highly leveraged time on our calendar. It shows them w care. It gives us a chance to check in and see that they are on track and to remove obstacles or help them with their mindset. And when organizational leaders get too busy for their people their people check out.

Don’t know how – Sometime new managers don’t know how to engage a team and hold them accountable. There is a difference between good producers and good managers. Recently an article in Fierce CEO reported that 56% of CEO’s surveyed relied on email as their primary communication method. 45% of CEO’s don’t hold town halls and when they do they are one way.

How does it feel in a conversation where the other person is doing all of the talking and they are not listening to you? Are you engaged? Is it any wonder these teams are not engaged?

Three Things to do:

  1. Slow down and get clear on the priorities.
  2. When an employee is with you, be present. (Sometimes I have us take a couple of deep breaths to get present to the moment).
  3. Join a Toastmaster club or get some communication coaching/mentoring so that you are more comfortable communicating with your team.

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