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Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Business, Engagement, Featured, Leadership, Talent, Winning Through Engagement | 1 comment

A Case for Purpose and Meaning at Work

Two recent surveys have revealed that a majority of American workers are not fully engaged in their jobs. As a leader, it’s important for you to strive to keep purpose and meaning in the lives of your staff; otherwise, your business will inevitably suffer.

The first survey, conducted by Gallup beginning in the fourth quarter of 2010 to explore workers’ engagement levels, developed an employee engagement index that is based on responses to 12 actionable workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes. These include productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety and profit. Additional research showed significant linkages between engagement at work and health and wellbeing outcomes.

 

Gallup notes that a strong relationship has been identified between employees’ workplace engagement and their respective company’s overall performance

 

The study revealed that 71 percent of workers are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive. It’s a trend that remained stable throughout 2011.

Additionally, respondents with at least some college education were significantly less likely to be engaged in their jobs than those with a high school diploma or less. Workers in the 30 to 64 age group were less likely to be engaged at work than are those who are younger or older, and men are much less likely than women to be engaged at work.


 

The second study, conducted for Working Simply, Inc. in July 2012, reports that only 30 percent of employed U.S. adults strongly agree that their work gives them a definite sense of purpose and meaning. As the study points out, “If they’re not finding meaning in their work, they’re not fully engaged and disengaged workers are less productive workers.”

“In fact, the more productive an employee’s time at work, the less that work will bleed over into their personal time,” says Working Simply, noting that millions of American workers report that they are constantly checking work emails outside of the office. “This is encroaching on their personal relationships by preventing them from engaging with people or activities. These workers are unable to engage completely in life — with their families, their friends, their communities — due to an inefficient work pattern.”

 

The study revealed that 71 percent of workers are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive

 

Gallup notes that a strong relationship has been identified between employees’ workplace engagement and their respective company’s overall performance. “It is likely that organizations with engaged employees experience positive business performance, while workplaces with not engaged or actively disengaged employees are more likely to experience lower productivity,” the pollster says. “The national engagement data reveal that businesses in the U.S. — and in turn, the U.S. economy as a whole — might not be reaching maximum worker performance because of the high percentage of not engaged and actively disengaged employees. Increasing the percentage of engaged workers in the U.S. could spur a significant amount of job growth.”

These statistics are important for small business owners in particular because the less engaged employees are with their work and their organization, the more likely they are to leave for another job. Frequent employee turnover can be costly and negatively impact the bottom line of any small business, so strive to keep your employees engaged and satisfied.

Beth Longware Duff is a professional editor and award-winning writer whose work on a wide variety of topics has been published in print and electronic media. She currently writes on a wide range of topics dealing with electronic payment processing for Merchant Express.

 

Kids drawing and Newspaper drawing by Chelsea

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  • http://idolbuster.com Greg Marcus

    I have also heard of many employees who are very engaged at work, but feel an overall sense of emptiness. Engagement is not the same as purpose and meaning. Lasting happiness and meaning comes from connection to other people, not the job.

    When I work, I take a professional attitude, to do the best job I can, but my purpose and meaning come from other things outside of the office. While it may be in the company’s best interest for me to want to go the extra mile, to work weekends, etc, it certainly is not in my personal interest, because that takes time away from other meaningful things in life.

    I disagree with the conclusion that employees who check email at home are not engaged enough. They are too engaged, and have allowed the attachment to the office to impinge on life boundaries. Setting stronger personal boundaries will lead to better rest, less stress and consequently greater focus and productivity at work.

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