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Another Broken Engagement

December 22nd, 2011 by George Hanlin in Leader Development

The numbers have not been especially good this fall.

November’s unemployment rate remained stubbornly high at 8.6 percent. Recent news reports indicate that in the past few years the housing market dropped even worse than original figures indicated. And as European debt concerns continue, the stock market has taken another downturn this week.

Disengaged employeeNow word comes from Gallup that nearly three-fourths of American workers (71 percent) are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their jobs. Gallup uncovered these figures during a survey it conducted with 2,341 adults from July 1 to September 30, 2011.

As part of the survey, Gallup looked at demographics and came up with some interesting findings. For example, researchers learned that the better educated workers are, the more likely they are to be disengaged (which seems counterintuitive since one assumes that employees with less education tend to do more menial work). They also found that middle-aged workers are not as engaged as younger or older workers and that men are considerably less engaged than women.

On the whole, this amounts to bad news for American businesses. Why? Because as studies indicate, unengaged and disengaged employees are a drain on their companies. They’re wasteful and cost a lot in terms of turnover.  Organizations with high levels of employee disengagement are not nearly as productive and profitable as companies where employees feel more connected to their work.

So yes, add this study to the list of poor or mediocre economic indicators for the year—but take heart as well. After all, a new year awaits us along with opportunities for improvement.

And things could always be worse. At least we’re not Congress. A poll released Tuesday shows that many more Americans—a record-breaking 86 percent—are disengaged with it.

Now that’s a really bad number.

George Hanlin is a consultant at FlashPoint.

Image: Stuart Miles

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