87% of employees are disengaged! Ponder on that for a second. What’s more intriguing is this statistics of employee engagement is not country specific but a result of a global survey.
If you were running a company with 87% people who come in because they got to pay rent and have no darn interest in the well being of your company then you got a serious problem.
From a patriotic view – if you consider entire country as one big company, country’s future is dependent on mere 13% of active people who actually care about their contributions to propel the well being of the company they are working for.
If we take a career-centric view for a second, this is a tremendous opportunity for the career-focused folks. Let that stat sink in just a bit more. If you are working in a company with 100 employees, your competition, on an average, is just 13 people and as managing 100 people will take at least 5 to 10 managerial roles, you are competing only with 1-2 people at any time for a given position. If you are engaged in what you are doing and if you add in qualities like ‘creativity and being proactive’ then you are well on your way to a bright career.
Of course shining within this 13% group will take a lot of hard work. If you slack – you are going to make it easier for the rest of the group to slide you off the cliff.
Looking at the 87% stat, it feels like one of the reasons for this gross disengagement is the entry of Generation Y into the workforce. Based on my age demographic – I am still considered part of Generation Y and I have noticed from my own experience that the newer Generation Y (and interning Generation Z) come with an attitude of entitlement (which we all experience and lose in our teenage/early twenty’s) which contributes to the lack of engagement at the workplace.
Kids in school these days are used to getting stars for just showing up and the education board is trying to ‘decrease’ standards to get more students to the passing score, this unwittingly promotes a sense of ‘entitlement’ in kids. I am not sure if it is a good thing or bad thing but that sense of entitlement just for showing doesn’t cut it at a workplace.
The disengagement leads to all sorts of problems at the workplace. One of them is loyalty. As we find ourselves in the world where everything is in a constant flux, we notice that loyalty is a thing of antiquity in the definition of both employers and employees. With no survey to back me up here – I am going to say this and you can weigh in with your own experience: people (most) who voluntarily leave the company are from the 13% and those who stay back are from the 87%. In most cases, 87% gets to stay in jobs because the 13% move around searching for challenges so often, leaving a dent and with no immediate replacement, 87% get to while a little more in their job, however, disengaged they are.
This is again good news if you belong to the 13% group; It is good news because there are many opportunities for people who trust in their own skill and hard work. I know a Manager who changed over 12 jobs and got re-hired into the same firm more than 3 times because he is engaged in what he does – not where he was doing it.
Further harping on this subject of 13% engaged workers, it may be a good place to talk about emotional intelligence (some refer to this as EQ: Emotional Quotient), in a study done by Dr. Travis Bradberry, they found that as people progress in the corporate ladder the emotional intelligence, or concern for others, sees a drastic dip, however, the study points out that ‘still the most effective leaders’ are the ones that have high degree of emotional intelligence.
The reason we bring EQ in this discussion is that while you fix your razor sharp focus on being in and beating the rest of the 13% to make strides of progress, you should never turn into a mean-cold-narcissistic maniac. You can succeed that way too but you will not earn loyal admirers, only back-stabbers.
If you are in the 13% group all you need to do to succeed is to:
> put your hard work
> bring new vision to your work, and
> stay empathetic about people you work with and the clients you serve