Friday, October 09, 2009

Engagement Loses Ground

Apparently having a job when many others don’t is no longer sufficient.

More than 50 percent of workers say their jobs are stagnant, according to a recent survey by DDI.

Among the reasons employees cited are having no room to advance, not being asked to do more, and not being challenged enough. The reasons are ironic given that many workers say they are burdened with too much work following layoffs and budget cuts.

Were it not for the abysmal job market, even more people would look to better horizons. Half of the respondents who said their jobs are stagnant plan to look for a new job when the economy recovers.

What the survey indicates above all else is that just because people are busier does not mean organizations should ignore engagement. It’s something leaders should focus on regularly.

The number of people who choose to do something else at work other than work is likely the same as it was 10 or 20 years ago. Social networking sites are just a new diversion for bored employees. Spring and summer fever is not new either. Twenty percent of employees called in sick as many as three times over the summer.

We should not read too much into the statistics and ignore the larger problem. Engagement of employees is an ongoing issue, not something that emerged in the Internet age. It is just as easy to ban use of the Internet, social media or personal phones as it is to find challenging roles and assignments for ambitious employees.


Tony Ratcliffe said...

Engagement in the job in certainly an issue, and the nature of this blog can certainly imply you are referring to the training and development of the employees. This is an area I am considering while developing a research proposal to enter a doctoral program in e-learning and learning technology. Specifically, I wonder if we can increase the engagement through the use of e-learning technology such as Web 2.0 tools. This likely means opportunities for informal learning in the workplace and significant changes in the culture in some organizations. What would, or does, this look like in organizations with which you are familiar?

Roger Gordon said...

I've heard from some of my accounts where furloughs and lay offs have been significant, that the employees who remain are now totally engaged. I believe there is a misunderstanding that engagement means paying attention out of fear. Fear does not motivate, it just focuses an employee to do what is necessary to keep their actions "under the radar." Now, more than ever, we need to engage the workforce to unleash their potential. Recognition and active listening are two ways in which managers can truly show appreciation for the efforts of those who have survived the battle.