Monday, September 27, 2010

Disengage Your Disengaged Employees

Your success is dependent on your people. Do you know who your people are? According to the market research firm ORC there are six common types of employees.

Elizabeth the Engaged—Composed of 35 percent of the survey respondents, “Elizabeths” are ideal employees. They are highly motivated, go above and beyond, and are adaptive to change.

Lucy the Laggard—This next largest group, at nineteen percent, is the most disengaged. These employees don’t hate their job and don’t plan to quit, but they tend to do their work half-heartedly and make careless mistakes.

Colin the Comfy—Those in this category, representing16 percent of employees, have no intention to leave their safe environment. Getting little sense of accomplishment from their work and rarely complaining, they simply put in their eight hours and go straight out the door.

Alison the Ambivalent—Twelve percent of the population are unhappy because they are often disconnected with the job or the organization.

Simon the Saboteur—Eleven percent of respondents tend to be very negative about the organization. They dislike changes and are quick to criticize because they feel like they are voiceless.

Peter the Promiscuous—This smallest group from the pool are positive and proud of their organization. But because they are usually motivated by money or personal development, it won't take much for them to leave.

This employee makeup may be surprising and you'll certainly think 'this is not us,' but according to the stats the majority of your employees are disengaged! Indeed, according to a Gallup poll (a survey of 3 million people), 71% of Americans are not engaged in their work and 16% are actively disengaged. Their disengagement comes from burn out, not feeling listened to, lack of recognition, fear, outside issues... or all sorts of things.

Disengagement is costly. As noted in the Journal of Applied Psychology "actively disengaged employees erode an organization's bottom line (analyzed by productivity, profitability, safety incidents, absenteeism, and earnings per share growth rate) while breaking the spirits of colleagues to the tune of $300 billion per year in the US.

I've always believed in pushing to engage employees as a primary and ongoing organizational mission. I'm also proposing to work the other side - to actively work to eliminate disengaged employees. Do you think your company is full of engaged Elizabeths? Do you have an Allison? Who is your Simon? What efforts do you take to spot and eliminate those cutting into your productivity and morale?

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