The Tragedy of Employee Dis-Engagement

Globally just 13% of us are ‘engaged’ with our work. If we are to solve the mounting challenges we face, we must access much more of our extraordinary human potential. But how?

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Humans are utterly amazing, bursting with potential. Human potential is the only limitless resource available to us.

We are, however, changing the physical world around us so fast that our era has its own geological name, the Anthropocene. Climate change, the destruction of habitats, species loss, plastic pollution, population explosion, economic migration and much more are all upon us.

Never before has it been more important to fully utilise our collective human potential to solve the challenges we face.

Yet tragically at this critical point in our history we are using only a small fraction of this precious resource. The data is truly shocking.

According to Gallup’s Global survey, just 13% of us are ‘engaged’ with our work.

The bulk of employees worldwide -- 63% -- are "not engaged," meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes. And 24% are "actively disengaged," indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers.’

Many hundreds of millions of people are utilising only a fraction of their human potential at work. Hundreds of millions more are so disengaged that they are actively undermining the organisations that employ them.

What the cold engagement data hides is the enormity of human suffering in organisational life today. It tells us that too many people are lacking meaning and purpose. They are feeling undervalued, unhappy with the pace and methods of work. They are suspicious of the superficial, harmful or manipulative nature of the products and services they are bringing into the world. They don’t feel involved, listened to, creative or resourceful. They are not thanked or challenged to stretch and learn. They are not rewarded properly for what they do.This is indeed a tragedy, and one that needs a revolution to address.

Now imagine the power and resources available to the well being of planet earth if these people were giving their best selves, their heart and soul. Our world would be transformed!

So what can make the difference?

It is easy to feel disempowered in the face of the enormity of the systemic change needed. Let’s look at what we can do.

We can influence ourselves and the teams we work with everyday. This is where the rubber hits the road, where we spend our days communicating with our colleagues, stakeholders and clients. The revolution can begin, one person and one team, one conversation at a time.

Each team is a mini family with its own unique culture driven by personalities, culture and power structures. Just like with any family, sometimes we need to ‘get real’ and talk honestly about the things that matter to bring the changes we long for.

We need to address assumptions, norms, the way power is exercised and decisions taken. We need to create a place where everyone feels truly heard and valued.

The approach we are taking with We-Q, is to provide teams with a simple confidential app which identifies what is working and what is not. It enables each person to have their say within their team in a safe way that builds trust. When we truly listen to each other, to what our hearts and minds are telling us, to the ideas we have for positive change, extraordinary things can happen.

When we are truly aligned to the team’s articulation of a meaningful purpose, when we can fully be ourselves, we can become hyper engaged. People need to be reminded they have homes to go to.

Only when we tap more effectively into the inexhaustible reservoir of our human potential will we transform our destiny into what the author Charles Eisenstein calls ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible’  

Simon Confino

Founder, We-Q

As an Organisational Psychologist, I work with teams, and entire organisations to help them shift to happier, more productive and soulful cultures. We-Q is an App which helps teams rapidly increase their 'Collaborative Intelligence', their ability to fulfil their purpose and thrive sustainably. My experience has shown me the enormous untapped potential human beings have once they learn to trust one another and feel safe and affirmed! I am father to two amazing adult sons and live in Lewes East Sussex.