Everyday the spirits of millions of people die at the front door of their workplace. There is an epidemic of workers who are uninterested and disengaged from the work they do, and the cost to the U.S. economy has been pegged at over $300 billion annually. According to a recent survey from Deloitte, only 20% of people say they are truly passionate about their work, and Gallup surveys show the vast majority of workers are disengaged, with an estimated 23 million “actively disengaged.”
This issue presents a tremendous challenge for organizational leaders. Even worse than dealing with the effects of people who leave your organization, you have to manage these disengaged workers who have decided to “quit and stay.” You’re still paying them to under-perform and ultimately undermine the effectiveness of your organization!
Research by The Ken Blanchard Companies on the topic of Employee Work Passion has uncovered 12 factors that help create a culture of engagement. These 12 factors fall into three categories: Job Factors, Organizational Factors, and Relationship Factors. Integrating these factors into your leadership and organizational practices will help foster an environment where employees are more committed, productive, and engaged in their work.
- Autonomy – People need to feel empowered to make decisions about their work and tasks. They need to be in control of their work and the ability to achieve their goals.
- Meaningful Work – Your employees need to know that their work matters. How is it connected to making a difference? How does it help them and the organization succeed?
- Feedback – Engaged employees always know where they stand regarding their performance. Do you offer timely, relevant, and specific information about their performance?
- Workload Balance – Having too much work and not enough time to accomplish it all is demotivating. Experiencing peaks and valleys in workload is normal, but when the peak becomes the norm, people quickly become resentful and feel like they’re being setup to fail.
- Task Variety – Each person is different in regards to how much variety in work tasks meets their motivational needs. Some people are motivated to do a minimal number of tasks over and over again. Others need more variety. The key is to find the right fit for people in regards to the variety of their work.
- Collaboration – Does your organizational structure and policies foster cooperation among individuals within a work unit or across departments, or does it encourage competition and the withholding of resources?
- Performance Expectations – People want to know what is expected of them. Does your organization have systems in place that allow employees to clearly know what’s expected in terms of the level of quality and quantity of their work outcomes?
- Growth – Do employees believe that your organization fosters opportunities for career and job growth? This is increasingly more challenging as organizations become flatter and there is less hierarchical growth “up the ladder,” but smart organizations are finding ways to allow for employee growth through other avenues.
- Procedural Justice (Fairness) – Are decisions made fairly and equitably? Are rules applied equally to everyone in the organization, or is there a culture of bias or playing favorites?
- Distributive Justice (Rewards) – People need to feel that the distribution of rewards and compensation are commensurate to the effort they put out and the results they achieve at work. A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
- Connectedness with Colleagues – Like the theme song from the old TV sitcom “Cheers” says, “You want to go where everybody knows your name.” People need rewarding interpersonal relationships with their coworkers to be fully engaged on the job.
- Connectedness with Leader – Employees want and need a supportive and personal relationship with their boss. Of course this varies by personality types and other factors, but everyone wants to have a positive and productive relationship with their leader.
On January 25, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. PST, The Ken Blanchard Companies is hosting a free Leadership Livecast and I’m excited to be one of 40 thought leaders who will be presenting on the topic of “Quit and Stayed.” Over 5,000 people have registered to attend and I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about how you can address this workplace epidemic.