The Impacts of Employee Disengagement – Part 1

A recent Gallup study found that only 10% of managers know how to engage those whom they manage. In addition, the study notes that over three quarters of American workers are either indifferent or actively disengaged (“actively disengaged”’ means that they are working against your company’s best interests!). This lack of engagement costs the U.S. economy (read: you and me) between $319 and $398 billion annually.  That’s a big number.

On the flip side, the Gallup study notes that those organizations in the top quartile of engagement enjoy the following competitive advantages:

$$         22% higher profitability (this alone should get your attention)
$$         21% higher productivity
$$         41% fewer product defects
$$         48% few safety incidents
$$         37% less absenteeism and employee turnover

So what’s going on here? There’s no question that American business has turned the Peter Principle into an art form; most companies still promote people to higher and higher levels of management for reasons that have more to do with longevity than ability. But hiring and promoting practices are not the only cause of employee disengagement. In fact, these are only symptoms of three more fundamental root causes of employee disaffection: (1) the lack of a cause or belief that serves as the organization’s rallying cry (its “WHY”); (2) a leader-follower culture that is dominated by Diminishers; and (3) no method for teaching employees how to help the company earn a profit and generate cash.

In coming weeks we’ll take a look at each of these root causes in more detail. I’ll also describe some best practices and provide you with resources you can use to create an Inspired Organization of engagement and accountability.