The Enormous Cost of Unhappy Employees

A few weeks ago, we talked about why happiness at work matters; this week I’d like to share the flip side of that: the gigantic cost of unhappy employees.

Employee engagement has been a hot topic for several years now, but what does it really mean and how do you know whether your employees are engaged at work? And why does it matter?

Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace reported on employee engagement in more than 140 countries and divided employees into three categories. Below is an excerpt from Gallup’s study:

Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.

Not Engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time–but not energy or passion–into their work.

Actively Disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish.

It’s easy for us to think the problem lies with others, but the statistics give us a disturbing truth. Through its research, Gallup found that 87 percent of workers worldwide and 70 percent of employees in the U.S. (84 percent in Canada, 83 percent in the U.K.) are either not engaged or actively disengaged. That means only 30 percent of U.S. workers are driving their organizations forward.

via The Enormous Cost of Unhappy Employees | Inc.com.

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  1. Employee happiness is not as important as employee engagement.
    · Poor performers can be happy if they are paid well and treated well.
    · Poor performers can be unhappy even if they are paid well and treated well.
    · Good performers can be unhappy if they are paid well but not managed well.
    · Good performers can be unhappy if they are paid poorly but well managed.
    · Good performers can be unhappy if they are unchallenged.
    · Good performers may be unhappy even if they are paid well, treated well, and managed well such as waiting for a deserved promotion or raise.

    Creating an engaged workforce is not hard to do, see steps below.

    Step 1. Have the CEO do her job well all of the time.
    Step 2. Have all the CEO’s direct reports (executives) do their jobs well all of the time.
    Step 3. Have all the managers do their jobs well all of the time.
    Step 4. Have all the supervisors do their jobs well all of the time.

    All employees will do their jobs well all of the time if all the others are doing their jobs well all of the time. Oh wait, it is too hard to get the CEO, executives, managers and supervisors to do their jobs well all of the time so we’ll just expect/demand/cajole/bribe/reward the employees to do their jobs well all of the time. Oops, that will not create engaged employees; never mind.

    80% of employees are not well suited to their jobs including supervisor, managers,
    executives, and CEOs.

    We keep hiring the wrong people to be managers and above.

    The 20% who fit their jobs as managers can create an engaged workforce but if the executives are ill-suited to their jobs success may be fleeting.

    There are many factors to consider when hiring talent but first we need to define talent unless “hiring talent” means “hiring employees.” Everyone wants to hire for talent but if we can’t answer the five questions below with specificity, we can’t hire for talent nor manage talent effectively.
    1. How do you define talent?
    2. How do you measure talent?
    3. How do you know a candidate’s talent?
    4. How do you know what talent is required for each job?
    5. How do you match a candidate’s talent to the talent demanded by the job?

    Employers need to assess for:
    – Cultural Match (Cultural Fit)
    – Skills Match (Competence)
    – Job Match (Talent)

    Some employers assess for all three.

    Potential is identified during the Job Match evaluation.

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