American leadership philosophy simply doesn’t work anymore

The American workforce has more than 100 million full-time employees. One-third of those employees are what Gallup calls engaged at work. They love their jobs and make their organization and America better every day.  At the other end, 16% of employees are actively disengaged — they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged — they’re just there.

If American companies were simply to double the number of engaged workers from one-third to two-thirds, spirited employees would reverse our seriously declining national productivity.

New and emerging technologies are transforming the way work gets done. More people do their job virtually or remotely and at various times of the day rather than between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Gallup found that from 2012 to 2016, the number of employees working remotely rose by four percentage points, from 39% to 43%, and employees working remotely spent more time doing so.

The modern workforce knows what’s important to them and isn’t going to settle. Employees are willing to look and keep looking for a company that’s mission and culture reflect and reinforce their values. They have seemingly unlimited resources to help them conduct their job searches — far beyond classified ads and their immediate professional networks. And as the job market has been opening up, employees have been feeling increasingly optimistic about what they’re finding. A record 47% of the workforce says now is a good time to find a quality job, and more than half of employees (51%) are searching for new jobs or watching for openings.

With more people on the job hunt, organizations must hone their attraction strategies so they can more effectively recruit and hire sought-after candidates. They also have to ensure their retention strategies are sound.

The one thing leaders cannot do is nothing. They cannot wait for trends pass them by, and they cannot wait for millennials to get older and start behaving like baby boomers.

Employees who are actively disengaged have the opposite effect on their organization’s prosperity and growth. They are more likely to steal from their company, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays and drive customers away. Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity.

Only 33% of U.S. workers are engaged

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