I have sat through many presentations over the last 3 years listening to experts telling company leaders how they can make their company an engaging workplace; how they can increase employee engagement.

Is it really the employer’s responsibility?

Engagement is a Choice

Surely a basic requirement when you accept a job is that you engage and commit to doing it well?

Apathy is a practiced habit.   You don’t start life as a child expert in curiosity-less disengagement.  You practiced.

Your Apathy is Nobody Else’s Fault

Why should the fault be directed to your manager or to company HR?

It is not their fault.

It is not anyone’s fault that you are not engaged.

It is you.

It is you who is apathetic.

It is you who has to commit.

It is you who has to engage.

It is you who has to become responsible for your life as an adult.

Practice Apathy at Work, Become Apathetic in Everything

Show me someone who is apathetic and disengaged at work, and I will show you that he is apathetic and disengaged at home, with friends and a superb cynic of anyone who makes an effort.  When we practice apathy, we get better at it in all areas of our life: work, family, hobbies, friends, studies, spirituality, community.

Here’s a short guide to putting the practice of engagement and responsibility into your life:

Engaged Life 101: How to be actively engaged in life.

  1. Intention: Start every day by stating your intention for the day.  As soon as you wake, write down the sentence “Today, my day is about _________”  (today, I wrote self-compassion…  yesterday I wrote listening better)
  2. Read: Next, read something inspiring.  (ie, not the newspaper, not your email)  Here’s my list of great books: Personal Leadership Library
  3. Think & Write: Decide on your Most Important Action for today.  Write it down.  Do 10 minutes action to move this Most Important Action forward.  At the end of exactly 10 minutes of focussed attention, stop and go have your breakfast.
  4. Now, you can let the day happen…  but you have already taken personal ownership and responsibility for your day…  good practice for the rest of the day.

The Dean of EO Leadership Academy, and highly successful businessman and person, Warren Rustand first taught me this process.  He calls it the 1-10-10-10 start to the day.  1 minute intention, 10 minute read, 10 minute write then 10 minute think.  Ideally followed by 29 minutes of physical exercise and then you’ve given yourself the best possible first 60 minutes of the day.

This week I attended an Entrepreneurs Organisation learning event led by long time EO member Ridgely Goldsborough on the subject of “Know your WHY“.

Here’s a picture of EO Barcelona Learning Chairman Toni Mascaro welcoming over 100 entrepreneurs to the event.

Disengagement: The “Quit and Stayed” Employee

I recently posted about the 4 paths of our working lives – and one path is Quit and Stayed.  These category of people are those who have emotionally given up on their jobs, but they still keep sending their body in to sit at the desk and collect a salary.

Ridgely shared statistics on the impact of disengaged employees on a company.

  • An indifferent employee costs you $2,246 per year according to Gallup. An actively disengaged employee costs you more than $25,000.
  • 33% of American employees change jobs every year.  90% leave jobs for reasons to do with “attitude“, not skills.
  • Recruiting expert Brad Smart (author of Topgrading) shares evidence that 1 bad hire costs a company 5 times their salary (and 10-15 times for senior hires)

Apart from the financial cost, there is a painful emotional cost for all those who must work in close proximity to this disengaged individual – they suck your passion.  I know that the best way to increase team performance is to remove the disengaged team members.

Achieving Engagement

According to the AONHewitt definition, engaged employees want to:

  1. Stay (intent to stay with the organisation)
  2. Say (speak highly of the organisation to others) and
  3. Strive (make an discretionary effort to deliver results)
Ridgely presenting the benefits of Engaged Employees
Ridgely presenting the benefits of Engaged Employees

Ridgely shared that engaged employees deliver:

  • 37% less absenteeism and turnover
  • 48% fewer safety accidents
  • 41% fewer safety defects
  • 21% higher productivity
  • 22% higher profitability

How do we Achieve a Culture of Engagement?

Ridgely explained that people are different and seek to express themselves in different ways. If we try to be everything for everybody, we end up frustrated and wasting our time.

Do you understand the different personalities of the people that you work with?  I have done so many psychological tests that I assume that everyone knows these tools (I studied psychology at university…).  When I was 14, my father brought home a Myers-Briggs test and did it on all of the family.

About me…

What about you?  What are you?  What types do you get frustrated by?

The Why types

Ridgely worked through a short coaching process where each participant was able to identify their primary “why” from a list of 9 “Whys”. The 9 whys are:

  1. Contribute
  2. Trust
  3. Make Sense
  4. Better Way
  5. Right Way
  6. Challenge
  7. Master
  8. Clarify
  9. Simplify

By the way, I came out as a 7 – Master.  My “why” is to seek mastery and understanding above all else.

Infographic: Employee Engagement

One of the challenges of important life lessons is that we need to be reminded every day.  Now that I have just written a blog post about how people are different, I am primed to not over-react when I meet someone who is a “5 – Right Way” and has a constant focus on what the precedent is, what is proven, what is low risk… all perspectives that I find tiring.  However, tomorrow I will forget and will overreact again.

What can company leaders do to create a culture where we actively seek to empathise with each person’s primary purpose?

I found an infographic that describes the problem of employee disengagement and 6 things that CEOs can do to create engaged employees.  Click on the infographic to get a large version.  (Personally, I think that the yellow colour scheme is a bit aggressive):

Employee-Engagement.jpg
Employee Engagement on a page

 

  1. Inspire employees through purpose
  2. Align employees behind your strategy
  3. Develop line managers
  4. Be Fair (in process, in resource distribution, in relationships)
  5. Role Model
  6. Measure And Set Engagement Goals

Read in more detail at the business2business blog.

 

How Engaged are You?

What do you think?  Is your workplace engaged?  Are leaders actively creating engagement?

Are your people engaged?

  1. People consistently put in extra effort beyond what is expected.
  2. People are highly motivated to contribute to the success of the organisation.
  3. People consistently look for more efficient and effective ways of getting the job done.
  4. People have a strong sense of personal accomplishment from their work.
  5. People understand how their roles help the organisation meet its goals.
  6. People always have a positive attitude when performing their duties at work.
  7. Leaders do a good job of recognising contributions.

From the book The Carrot Principle.  Read the page here.