In a recent Gallup report entitled, State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders, Minnesota ranked dead last for employee engagement. The study found that only 26% of Minnesota workers felt engaged.
As I’m out doing workshops and team building, I get an earful from employees. And based on what I hear, I would comfortably say, most workplaces have a big engagement problem. But I would never have guessed that only 1 in 4 people are engaged. That’s a terrible stat. The study also found 70% of American workers are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.”
We Minnesotans are not used to showing up in last place on a list like this. Sure, we’ll admit we have issues, but they are almost always related to weather or mosquitoes. When it comes to issues of character and work ethic, we think pretty highly of ourselves. With nearly 3/4 of Minnesotan workers not engaged in their jobs, we aren’t nearly as successful as we could be. There’s a strong relationship between engagement and productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction. In other words, low engagement creates serious problems and meaningful opportunities.
For those that aren’t familiar with how Gallup measures engagement, they have what they call the Q12 Survey. It measures employee responses against the following 12 statements.
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
- At work, my opinions seem to count.
- The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
The thing I like best about these statements is the degree to which managers can influence them. I will grant you that #10 might be tricky and #8 is a challenge for organizations that have a less than admirable purpose. But a single manager should be able to take concrete actions to affect all the rest.
Improving employee engagement isn’t a big mystery. It takes some focused effort and good follow-though. It also requires hard decisions about managers and employees who aren’t willing or able to support the new work atmosphere you want to create.
Come on Minnesota. We need to fix this. Let’s admit we have the problem. Then let’s figure out where we are falling short and get to work. We can do it. It’s time to begin our journey to the other end of this list.
Image credit: scragz