We live in a world where people don’t feel connected, don’t feel empowered and struggle with finding meaning in the work they do. Given that ten to fourteen hours, and sometimes more, are given up for work each day, there is a strong desire to have a meaningful experience at work. What is holding us back from living up to our potential?
The numbers speak for themselves. In 2019, 34% of the workforce are actively engaged. 53% are not engaged, meaning they come to work, do the minimum and are ready to jump ship if a better offer comes their way. 13% are totally disengaged, which has improved from 2016 when it was 16%. (Gallup 2019)
For the Actively Engaged employee (34%) they are passionate and feel a profound connection to the organization. They are innovators and socially active. In the Not Engaged category (53%), these employees are filling time. They sleepwalk through the day, and wait for their paycheck at the end of the month. Then there are people who are totally Disengaged (13%), who undermine the work of others, who are frequently negative, and are clearly unhappy but don’t leave, and create negative impressions for the company. The ones who need the most encouragement, and opportunities for growth are in the majority.
The three fundamental needs of every human being are the need to belong, the need for empowerment and the need for meaning. These factors are critical for us to perform at our best, and keep us connected to people and the work we do in a meaningful way. So what’s stopping this from happening?
These are an untapped opportunity for companies to improve performance and profitability. But first, they must recognize that strategically engaging workers must be a priority if the company is to grow and thrive. If companies truly believe that employees are their best assets, then the care and support of their growth and development should be number one priority.
In 2009, when I published The Fearless Factor, I hoped it would inspire others to make important life changes. Written specifically for women who struggled with fear that had left an indelible impact on their confidence, potential, and relationships, the book highlighted my own journey to overcome the fear that had kept me from fulfilling my potential, and took me on an adventure of self-discovery that would eventually transform my life.
What I discovered through this journey of change is that the greatest fear of most individuals is simple. I’m not good enough, or, “I’m not lovable”, and frankly, they are both the same. With that in mind, we self-sabotage, look for examples that prove it, and generally under-perform. Frankly, it’s a waste. We are all much more than we think we are.
As a certified consultant for Human Synergistics International, I have debriefed dozens of 360° assessments designed to measure behavior in individuals, and organizations. These scientific tools analyze specific behaviors that help individuals and organizations make measurable improvements at work, and in their personal lives.
In all cases, I have found a degree of fear operating below the surface of the behaviors that keep individuals from living and working to their highest levels of engagement. When we think about the number of people who are not engaged (53%) in the workplace, we find that many of these behaviors work against their own interests, and undermine almost every aspect of their existence, as well as the impact on the organization itself. What would it look like if everyone brought their best self to work?
My work with entrepreneurs, senior executives and employees in large and small companies has proven one thing. It doesn’t matter what role you play in life, the underlying behavioral patterns have a great deal of similarity. The only variances are the degree to which these behaviors are impacting your potential and accomplishments in life. With this in mind, I wanted to create a guide for people in the workplace to use as a springboard to accelerate their own changes, and claim their role as a leader more effectively. Like life, it’s a work in progress and I hope to have it completed by next Spring.
It’s not rocket science. Just show up, be honest with yourself, ask difficult questions, and find the answers you’re looking for. Easy! If you can’t do it by yourself, find someone who can help you break down the barriers to your success.