Last week I wrote a post entitled Your Employees Are Happy . . . And Other Popular Myths. In this post I explained that having happy employees and having engaged employees are not necessarily the same thing and that as business leaders we need to strive for engaged employees.
I provided links for two informal surveys to gauge where the readers of the blog sit with respect to the Gallup engagement poll results that stated that only 31% of US employees are engaged at work. I provided a survey for managers and a separate one for employees.
This week, we will take a look at a summary of the results.
Are your employees really happy? What does “happy” actually mean? Are we even asking the correct question? Perhaps we should ask; “Are your employees engaged at work?”
According to Gallup only 31% of US workers are engaged at work (the numbers in Canada are similar to this). This is scary! It means that 69% of our workers are either not engaged or, worse yet, actively disengaged. This is costing our economy billions of dollars each year!
Being happy or satisfied at work is not the same thing as being engaged. According to Gallup, paying people high wages, providing Ping-Pong tables and free meals may result in “happy” employees and high employee satisfaction survey scores but it does not mean that your employees are engaged and productive. Jim Clifton stated; “A winning culture is one of engagement and individual contribution to an important mission and purpose. Human beings are not looking for company-bought goodies — they are looking for meaningful, fulfilling work. It is the new great global dream — to have a good job, not a free lunch. The dream is to have a job in which you work for a great manager; where you constantly develop; and where you can use your God-given strengths every single day.”
“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.” Solomon
This is one of my favorite all time quotes. It is also one of the pearls of wisdom that kept Nelson Mandela inspired with hope while he spent 27 years incarcerated as a political prisoner in South Africa. It is an ancient proverb that is about 3000 years old. I am amazed that this stellar advice was recognized and documented so many years ago and it is just as valid today just as it was way back then.
In today’s world of increasing speed, complexity and globalization it is critical that we understand our gifts or strengths. We need to understand these strengths and leverage these whenever and wherever we can. This takes a lot of work and a lot of honesty. It takes effort to determine where we have strengths and to admit where we are weak. It takes effort to determine how to take our strengths and leverage them properly into the work that we do. It can be painful to admit our areas of weakness and bring people around us to bolster those weak areas. However, if we do not do this then we are selling ourselves and our businesses short. You will never reach your full potential as a person. You or your business will never reach its potential unless you can get yourself and the whole organization operating in their areas of strength and offering their strengths where others are weak.