The key to organizational success today is not marketing, or financial leverage, or location; the key is enjoying the fruit of the knowledge, experience, creativity and commitment of the company’s people. Very simply, the key is workforce engagement.
This is part 1 of a 7-part article series titled "Forget Motivation: It's Time to Engage".
In a typical organization a third to half of the workforce is disengaged. Attendance is poor, turnover is high, and profitability or effectiveness is mediocre. In outstanding organizations three quarters or more of the workforce is engaged, feels empowered, gives more attention and care and commitment to the company because they view their work as meaningful and feel that the organization knows and cares about them as individuals. They are aligned with company goals; they are highly involved in their work and give it their best effort because it reflects their values and successfully utilizes their skill and knowledge at a high level.
At times outstanding leadership accomplishes great success by inspiring people to give their best, to stretch and do more than they thought they could. A great coach can mold an average group into a winning team; an inspired founder like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg can create a world-changing organization; a charismatic speaker like Barack Obama can create a political movement. But such combinations of skills and personality are rare. Fortunately extraordinary knowledge and skills are not required. An understanding of human nature combined with behaviors that are learnable can create an engaged organization.
In recent years an understanding of this power has emerged in studies of businesses and other types of organizations, including political movements. And the power of engagement has become manifest in learning and education and other types of human endeavor. In this series of discussions we’ll briefly trace and explain this phenomenon.