Lack of Employee Engagement is Killing the Bottom Line     Question 3


#employeeengagement #leadership #management #supervision #employeedevelopment


Employee engagement is the basis of a successful business (according to some and yes I agree).

The employee represents the doing part, the arms and legs, of the company. That last person to touch the product, for instance, can put their whole selves into insuring the buyer has a positive experience or… not. We can all recall having a just terrible interaction with a person we need to deal with in order to buy what we seek. All the wonderful everything up until that point can be undone in a heartbeat by a rude, accusatory comment, or a gesture (they throw the item onto the counter at you and turn away with a snort and a comment under their breath). This is just the last person to touch the product. Imagine all the others involved and their effect, their accumulated effect.

Employee engagement can be measured and with a few million tries under their belt, Gallup has come up with 12 questions to ask of any employee. The answers are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 equal to an extreme yes, 4 a simple yes, 2 is simple no and 1 is an extreme no. That leaves a score of 3 to guess about. Is this employee neutral or too scared to tell their truth, for example.

Gallup tells us that answers to their 12 questions, answered in confidentiality, provide reliable, repeatable indication of levels of engagement within a group of employees.

Question 3 is, “at work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best, everyday?”.

One thing I notice is that part about “what you do best”. Best is a high bar to clear and added to that “best for me” might be hard to describe. It may be this one thing, a small thing, but when I do that one small thing, I am the best I can be. OK, this speaks to matching my “best” (passion, natural talent, etc) with the work that needs to be done. The second part of it is “have the opportunity”, not doing just that one thing all day long. So, with the qualifier about opportunity, it feels possible, maybe.

However, what strikes me most is that last word. Wow, everyday? I’m from the school that acknowledges that there are some tasks that, though not all that popular, simply must be done. This means that “everyday” is probably not on the table for at least some employees. How real is this possibility? I’m resisting. But let us allow, for a moment, that it could be and, for some, it is.

This question 3 is such a lofty ideal (in my mind) that it is hard to believe it is common in the typical workplace. Would you give it a 5? Who do you know that would give it a 5? Guess what, the answers to the questions tell us exactly that. Over 70% of employees live in a work world of active disengagement or in that tepid pool of living between 2 and 4 on that scale of 5. 70% of the workforce not engaged, really, is this true? After Gallup tried millions of questions to ask in order to design a reliable and repeatable set of 12, to use in measuring employee engagement, they then used their questionnaire with millions of employees. Here is what they found.

  • Only 30 % are engaged (actively add to the bottom line in many ways)
  • 55% are not fully engaged (get by, not often actively adding, withholding some, coasting, rarely stretch themselves)
  • 15% are actively disengaged (actively depleting the bottom line)

So what are you going to do now?

Joseph Seiler MCC