The Academic Research Behind Engagement

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The academic research behind employee engagement is worth the read.  I spent two days last week diving into some exceptional articles on the subject  and found more than I could have imagined.  I thought I would share some of my findings and highlight some of the other nuggets I found.

Engagement Percentage:  Gallup continues to find that 70% of employees are not engaged and that this accounts for a shocking 300 billion in lost revenue each year.  This makes me crazy.  I started Open Pivot to attack that 70% of employee disengage number because I believe it is truly a societal issue grounded in fear, poor leadership, the dream of retiring, the dream of acquiring more stuff ect…

Engagement Defined: The moment and period of time where we are physically, cognitively and emotionally connected to the work.  Yes! That glorious moment where your interests, energy and passion collide into creative flow.  The moment where you speak up in meetings with your opinion.  The time where you are immersed in selling because you are completely convinced that what you are selling is incredible!

Burnout: There is an inventory called the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI).  A person can take the test to see if they are.  I think you know if you are if you do not like going to work.  The words used to describe burnout include exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy.

Job Demands Resources: It even has an abbreviation…(JDR) This means that there must be resources that outstrip the demands of the work. This can impact engagement.  Obviously employees feel that they don’t have enough resources to meet the demands of the job requirement.  Consider things like training, coaching and administrative support to create this reality.

Conscientiousness: You have heard teachers say to be a conscientious student.  Well, to increases conscientiousness means having more responsibility, which can make our engagement increase.  It could also backfire if the employee chooses not to engage.  This is where clear expectations and check-ins are helpful to make sure tasks are completed.

Vigor: This is about being psychologically flexible with work challenges.  Our training workout ought to be vigorous enough to keep us engaged otherwise we just get bored and therefore engagement decreases.  In other words, do not walk the dog too slowly or you will get bored and don’t run too fast or you will tear your ACL.

Women and Engagement: Women that struggled with relationships with other women found that their productivity went down 10% compared to men that were in conflict with other men or women.  Also, 15% of these women found that they were less likely to repair a broken relationship with a female counterpart they had conflict with.  This is research from the American Management Professionals.

Why all the fuss about engagement? It is a problem.  I feel that the greater issue is that executive teams, executives and managers need to take some ownership here.  I am not taking the employee off the hook at all.  Something must change.  I have made it my life’s purpose to at least begin to bring the conversation to the forefront.