A Note To The 70% Of Workers Disengaged

by Ken Vincent, Featured Contributor

EVER since that survey came out saying that some 70% of workers are not engaged in their work we have been beating up on leadership.

Everyone that can invent an acronym or write a post has jumped on the band wagon.  CEO s, Managers,  and leaders of all titles have been hammered.  They have been accused Required Readingof being arbitrary, uncaring, unimaginative, dictatorial, lazy, unwilling to change, greedy, and a host of other deficiencies.   For the sake of simplicity I”m going to lump all those on the upper rungs of organizations as “executives” and call them “hes”, though they could just as well be females.

Many of the most critical have never been a top executive.  Those that have will agree that it isn’t an easy job.  It is no walk in the park to try to coordinate a bunch of humans, each with different skills, attitudes, attributes, failings, and preferences.  It is like herding rabbits.  Sure those executives get to work from home, but that is after they put in 70+ hours in the office.  That is at 3 am when they can’t sleep.  Plus, keep in mind that he has a lot more skin in the game than the average employee.  If he gets fired, he can’t just go across town and get another comparable job.  His career and reputation is on the line every day.

Most executives do more things right than wrong or they wouldn’t be in that job, or they won’t last long in it.  They do their best to pay you regularly, provide a safe working environment, train you, and recognize you as an important part of the enterprise.

So now let me address those 70% of disengaged employees.  Where in the book of life is it written that your employer must cater to you every desire?  He doesn’t have to  let you work from home, or set your own schedule, or assure you of a work/life balance.  He doesn’t have to run the business to suit your personal preferences.

So, disengaged, what happened to self motivation?  What happened to the desire to go home and say you did the best you could that day?  That you gave 100% or more?  That you are proud of having done your best?  That you worked at being better today than you were yesterday?  What happened to self pride?  Those men and women at the top did those things and that is why they are at the top.

Life doesn’t owe you anything.  Neither the company, its executives, nor the government is obligated to cater to your whims and preferences.  They didn’t adopt you and take you to raise.  Grow up and get a grip.  Take responsibility for yourself.

If you do what you know is ethical, moral, honest and give your all every day and all day then you too have a chance at being an executive and being accused of being incompetent by all those that are not engaged.


Ken Vincent
Ken Vincent
KEN is a 46 year veteran hotelier and entrepreneur. Formerly owned two hotels, an advertising agency, a wholesale tour company, a POS company, a leasing company, and a hotel management company. The hotels included chain owned, franchises, and independents. They ranged in type from small luxury inns, to limited service properties, to large convention hotels and resorts. After retiring he authored a book, “So Many Hotels, So Little Time” in which he relates what life is like behind the scenes for a hotel manager. Ken operated more that 100 hotels and resorts in the US and Caribbean and formed eight companies. He is a firm believer that senior management should share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of management.

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  1. I agree. If Management holds up their end of the deal, then the employee should as well. They should constantly engage and steer their own career. This can easily be accomplished with open lines of ocmmunication. I did it was my management team. I met with them weekly for a few minutes to ensure I was on the right path. We were all laid off due to strategical logistics, but I worked on my own career all the way to the end. You know what? It helped me immensely.

  2. Hello Ken, thanks for the article.

    The problem of disengaged employees rest solely on the shoulders of the executives.

    Employees do not hire themselves, the executive team does or they delegate the task to subordinates.

    Also, if problems exist executives either created the problems, ignore problems, or made the problem worse.

    If we believe that we can hire anyone and turn them into engaged employees, then why don’t we have more engaged employees? Engaged employees is the reward employers receive for having all their executives, managers, and supervisors doing their jobs well all of the time. If a CEO is not satisfied with their employees all they need to do is look in the mirror for the cause.

    Job applicants should not have to persuade the employer to hire them but rather the employer needs to persuade the right applicant to accept the job offer. Only the employer can know which applicants will be successful if hired. Since an applicant cannot know if she’ll be successful if hired, she must ask questions to learn if the employer knows, but most do not. Applicants need to ask the hiring manager, “How do you know that I will be successful if I am hired?” If the answer is just a review of your resumes, education, experience, and interview performance, then you can be sure they don’t know if you’ll be successful. In which case be very careful since your job tenure depends on their answer.

    There are employers that know how to hire successful employees. Employers that don’t know are to blame for their unsuccessful employees, i.e., disengaged employees.

  3. I think that Ken’s perspective is addressing the issue from the wrong angle. True, there is nowhere in the book of life that says that your employer has to keep you engaged, or satisfy your every whim. But it is equally true that there is nowhere in the book of life that says that any employee has to remain loyal to you, or stay with your firm. So, now that we have got that out of the way, what’s the real issue? For firms, it means that if you do not engage your employees, you will lose them – plain and simple. That may seem okay to the short-sighted manager, but the costs of hiring and retraining someone to fill a position are substantial. The view that employees must trudge to work very day, put up with an environment where management takes employees for granted or couldn’t care less about their well-being, give 110%, and be thankful for a job, is not relevant in any market where talent matters. And for most of the North American economy, talent does matter. One last parting shot. In my experience, most managers are incompetent in certain respects. This is usually not around their technical skills, but in their people skills. Put simply, they just do not know how to manage.

  4. I agree both managers and employees have a responsibility regarding disengagement. The real issue is how to get more employees engaged.

    From an employees’ point of view, wouldn’t it be a great place to work if the managers truly tried to increase employees’ job satisfaction while coaching and developing them for advanced responsibilities? If managers acted this way, wouldn’t the employees be more engaged?

    From the managers’ point of view, wouldn’t it be a great place to work if your employees had a higher job satisfaction level, performed better, and wanted advanced responsibilities? If employees acted this way, wouldn’t the managers be more engaged?

    Seems like job engagement work both ways.

  5. I disagree with your statement, “Everyone that can invent an acronym or write a post has jumped on the band wagon…”

    I have created posts and seen many other posts where individuals have expressed it is also the responsibility of each individual to become engaged and pursue their own dreams, how to work with management, etc.

    It is a joint partnership and in some instances management is to blame. In other situations, it is the employee. Making broad statements does neither side or opinion any good.