Increased engagement scores are good news for employees, because it implies individuals are thriving at work and finding their daily work more rewarding.
“Engaged employees find their work meaningful and feel connected to the team and their organization. They feel proud of the work they do and take ownership of their performance, going the extra mile for teammates and customers.” Gallup
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When individuals are not engaged:
Gallup describes the other, less desirable states of work in two categories;
- Not engaged – (quiet quitters): These employees are filling a seat and watching the clock. They put in the minimum effort required, and they are psychologically disconnected from their employer. Although they are minimally productive, they are more likely to be stressed and burnt out than engaged workers because they feel lost and disconnected from their workplace.
- Actively disengaged – (loud quitters): These employees take actions that directly harm the organization, undercutting its goals and opposing its leaders. At some point along the way, the trust between employee and employer was severely broken. Or the employee has been woefully mismatched to a role, causing constant crises.
Leadership and management directly influence workplace engagement, and there is much that organisations can do to help their employees thrive at work.
The link between engagement and stress
Actively disengaged workers tend to experience significantly higher stress levels compared to engaged employees. While this correlation varies across countries, the percentage of workers who felt a lot of stress the previous day was about twice as much for those who were actively disengaged as engaged workers.
Notably, remote and hybrid workers, despite reporting higher engagement, are more likely to experience high levels of stress than their fully onsite counterparts. This indicates that stress among remote and hybrid employees may be attributed to factors beyond the work environment.
How to energise the ‘quiet quitters’
Quiet quitting employees are an organisation’s easy fix for productivity gains. They are ready to be inspired and motivated. This can be achieved through regular town halls, internal coaching, leadership teams and more of the regular process of employee motivation.
Eighty-five percent of the responses offered by those considered to be quieting quitting fell into three broad categories;
- Culture & communication 41%
- Pay & benefits 28%
- Wellbeing 16%
Managers are usually confined to operate within their company guidelines when it comes to pay and benefits so their direct influence in this area is difficult. Likewise they may face company restrictions around the area of wellbeing as this encompasses issues such as the office/remote work balance, longer breaks, establishing a health clinic etc.
But culture and communication are arguably the lowest of the easy access topics for managers to tackle. Here’s what the Gallup survey responses answered to the question; ‘What would you change about your workplace to make it better?’
- For everyone to get recognised for their contributions
- I would like it if the managers were more approachable, and we could talk openly
- They should grant more autonomy in the work to stimulate everyone’s creativity
- I would like to learn more things, but the work I do is quite repetitive
- I just wish they respected me more
- Giving everyone a fair chance in getting promoted
- Clearer goals and stronger guidance
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RHETORIC AND TRUTH WHEN IT COMES TO ENGAGEMENT
An unhappy and unbalanced person will not perform well at work. It doesn't matter what you do to the culture or whether the manager leader performs miracles and stands on their head all day and unbalanced and unhappy person will not perform well at work and will definitely not distribute a survey form that says they are engaged.
Culture bashing has become a sport. For the privileged and entitled this means that if they have a personal problem at home or they are experiencing mental health problems then it's the companies fault and the company should adapt to the individuals needs wants and desires. But I disagree.
And inspired leader has to face the fact that not everybody is going to like their leadership style and while the current trend of leadership and management training is to make the employee perfect and the leader wrong this will not lead to productivity nor to the growth of the individual who is struggling.
In 1986 I set up Innerwealth to become a coaching facility for individuals who are struggling with personal happiness and life balance in order that they could turn up to work and be responsible for their performance. I did this because I had experienced in my own life a personal situation which impacted my work life terribly. If anybody at work has asked should I change the company culture could they change how much remuneration I got all would they change how are people respected me I would've said yes yes yes because it was for me the easiest to blame the company. The problem was I own the company.
It has been my experience since 1986 but 99% of disengagement at work is caused by an individuals personal life. When we grow in both business and personal terms we need to change the way we manage ourselves and our personal issues. But many people are still treating themselves as if they were 18 years old and dealing with their personal life at about that level. But as we grow so to do our problems and so to do the mechanisms we need to address those problems. Company bashing and culture bashing has become the trend in order to avoid that growth.
I'm going to insert here a paragraph from my book from 1996. Have a look at it and see if anything has changed in the way people deal with quiet quitting or loud quitting.
"For many years Corporations have made the mistake of compartmentalising the development of people with the aim of increasing productivity and yet, the total human being, the heart, quality of life, relationship and other aspects of the human condition have been ignored. As we enter an era of hyper accelerated decision making the demands on individuals to bring their total capacity to work, including their heart, creativity, inspiration and non rational intellect, means we need a new understanding of "the Total Human Dynamic." In nature we are people first and fragmentation doesn't exist. Let's restore and preserve that awareness."
Not only this, but the format of corporate training and corporate personal development has not changed since 1976. Keynote speakers are usually with sporting backgrounds expound the virtues of setting goals and resilience and life balance without ever delving into the truth of what it takes to maintain a healthy family life and a healthy personal life while aspiring to handle huge amounts of stress in the workplace.
I even have colleagues who I've coached and have become professional corporate coaches who work out of scripts and textbooks to develop coaching for corporate leaders that have no idea what it takes to develop a holistic understanding of a human being and the balance required to keep an individual resilient and stable outside of the workplace. So another words corporations have changed very little in the way they deal with people's imbalance and yet the stress and the tension on an individual to produce has increased 1000 fold.
At Innerwealth I created a series of books called extreme skills for busy people. 50% of all of those books are about love and relationships. These books are written for corporate people who are looking for more fulfilment from their personal life so they can turn up in their work life and do a good days work happily. But it does not start with bashing the company for its cultural shortcomings. It starts with ownership of the fact that if we are not turning up at work it's because our life is somehow out of balance. The process of getting back in balance is achieved by our unique form of corporate development which is called professional coaching and is not available in the average scripted textbook coaching process and is definitely unavailable in a corporate format internally coached by those who have a vested interest in the individual improving their performance. Sometimes what is best for the individual is not best for the company but that can only come in a dialogue with an Objective viewpoint driven by somebody outside the organisation.
We are also currently played with yoga teachers and individuals who have a specialisation in one form of split stress management in one area of a persons life and have no idea of the holistic nature of the reality of being a human there are seven areas in a persons life and all seven areas require balance. It is not just bending over backwards or crossing your legs on the beach or sitting in a bucket of iced water that is going to cause you to be a fully balanced individual and turn up ready for a good days work. Maybe with all these reports and all these blogs that people are ranting about there should be a little more focus on the how to rather the rhetoric around diagnosing the problem with a new soundbite.