employee engagement are you in or out“You’re either in or you’re out.”  A long-time friend and former partner is oft-times heard uttering these words – his way of sizing up situations and dealing with indecision or ambiguity.  While applicable in a good number of life and business scenarios, it doesn’t reflect employee engagement in the American workplace, according to Gallup’s 2013 report entitled The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders.  This report highlights findings from Gallup’s ongoing study and covers 2010-1012 – looking at trends related to employee engagement.

Gallup defines engaged employees as “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and contribute to their organization in a positive manner.”  Also categorized are “not engaged” and “actively disengaged” employees.

  • Engaged employees increased from 28% in 2010 to 30% by the end of 2012.
  • Not engaged employees represent 52% of US workers.  This majority group is just kind of present, not inspired or motivated by their work or their managers.
  • Actively disengaged employees are emotionally disconnected from their workplace and are more likely to steal, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays and drive customers away.  18% of US workers fall into this category.

The Gallup report provides a snapshot view of engagement trends and the impact of engagement on organizational and individual performance – across different segments of the US population.  It also points out the critical role of leaders and managers.  They must be engaged themselves and, they must be effective leaders and managers.  According to Gallup, managers who focus on their employees’ strengths can practically eliminate active disengagement and double the average of US workers who are engaged nationwide.

Last week we discussed the positive effect of recognition and gratitude – how witnessing gratitude and recognition becomes a powerful motivator that enhances overall organizational culture and performance.  The Gallup report points out that managers should know that age, gender, tenure and other variables play vital roles in shaping a team member’s workplace experience.  Furthermore, managers should also understand the importance of every interaction with employees, and the potential to positively influence engagement and discretionary effort.

As UNC professor Barbara Fredrickson points out in her article entitled Positive Emotions and Upward Spirals in Organizations, “another way that positive emotions spread through organizations is by creating chains of events that carry positive meaning for others.”  In this way recognition and incentive programs can augment employee engagement initiatives to positively impact those that make up the “not engaged” segment of the workforce.

Contact us to find out more about recognition and incentive programs and the positive impact they can have on your employees’ levels of engagement.

As Vice President of QIC, Jeff oversees daily operations as well as the company’s strategic marketing initiatives. He has 20+ years in the incentive and recognition industry with prior lengthy experience in retail marketing/advertising and consumer loyalty.

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