According to Harris Interactive 2005, only 20 percent of working Americans love the work they do. Does this number surprise you? It surprised me! That means that 80 percent of working Americans dislike the work they do! Wow, think about that for a moment. Let’s consider the implications and some survey data as well.
In today’s business jargon, we’d say the employees that love what they do are “engaged,” whereas the others are either “not-engaged” or “actively disengaged.” Gallup defines each as such: Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organizations forward. Not-Engaged employees are essentially “checked” out.” They’re sleep walking 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 coworkers accomplish. Do we know any of these types of workers? Have we worked with any of these type coworkers? When considering your current job/role, what type of worker are you?
So does it really matter whether I love my work? What’s the big deal that 80 percent of Americans don’t like their work? If I’m not-engaged, and still go to work everyday, don’t bother anyone, do my job and go home when the clock strikes 5 p.m. what’s wrong with that? On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, under closer examination there are consequences and ramifications for both you and the company. Let’s look at you first.
Question…wouldn’t you like to look forward to going to work each day? Wouldn’t you love to have energy at work and feel connected to what you’re doing? Wouldn’t you like to feel that the work you do really makes a difference, for your company and its customers? How cool would it be to really feel fulfilled, and gratified through your work? The flip side of that is not being energized, hating Monday mornings, feeling empty and unfulfilled, often very stressed and quite miserable. This can lead to seeking pleasure and fulfillment in other places, e.g. voluminous TV viewing, overeating, shopping, following celebrity and workplace gossip, and overspending to name a few. This becomes a cycle that feeds the emptiness we feel at work.
Think about a 24-hour day. Theoretically, we spend eight hours sleeping, eight hours at work, eight hours, miscellaneously–cooking, eating dinner, watching TV, taking the children to and from school and their extracurricular activities (gymnastics, soccer, cheerleading, or music lessons)–there’s not a lot of time left.
Subsequently, in finding little pleasure in our work, spending our free time doing for our family–we live for the weekend, the “me time.” However, we often do more of the same on the weekends: more games, more events, run errands, shopping, maybe go out to dinner, perhaps church on Sunday and sports in Sunday afternoon and then somewhere between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday night, we begin to think those dreaded thoughts…”Man I got to go to work in the morning” or “Is the weekend over already?”
Is this routine familiar to anyone other than me? Since we spend more waking time at work with our co-workers than we do with our immediate family, does it stand to reason that we owe it to ourselves to find some consistent joy, fulfillment, meaning, and yes passion in our work? Of course we do.
Now from our company’s perspective…I’ll remind you of the question, what’s the big deal that 80 percent of Americans don’t like their work? If I’m not-engaged, and still go to work everyday, don’t bother anyone, do my job and go home when the clock strikes 5 p.m. what’s wrong with that?
Let’s look at the research, again I will defer to Gallup which estimates that one actively disengaged employee cost their company about $16,000 per year; they estimate that every engaged employee created at least $32,000 per year in additional revenue for the company. If we are generous, we will say the not-engaged employee is revenue neutral, which is probably quite generous.
In my words, non-engaged employee works an entire year (2,080 hours) and produce 0 monetary results for the company. Now that’s profound! Let’s multiply these costs to look at how it impacts the whole economy. Actively disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses between $270 billion and $343 billion every year due to low productivity! Can we see how much of ourselves we give (or in this case don’t give) impacts the US economy? Mathematically, if we just helped all of the actively disengaged employees to become not-engaged, we could help US businesses keep approximately $300 Billion annually. If we helped people “fall in love with their work” and/or companies, we could add $300 Billion to the US economy annually! I wonder how what would impact the recession.
It’s really interesting to read these survey statistics and see how they relate back to what you and I do or in this case don’t do at work everyday. Image that, the ultimate proposition, through working with passion and feeling a profound connection to company, I can not only feel very energized and fulfilled personally, I can also help increase my company’s revenue, and do my part to positively impact the US economy. Now that’s a win, win, win scenario. Who says one person can’t make a difference?