You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. - Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dylan.
You don't need a report to know you and/or your employees rarely bring your A game to work, either. In employee engagement parlance that means you're engaged, emotionally and intellectually, that you're investing more (my favorite phrase) discretionary effort at work, with your colleagues, with your customers.
And it's ok, 70% or more of those around are no more engaged than you are, according to Gallup's latest report on employee engagement.
But, the question, that remains unclear, is why so many of us refuse to acknowledged our reality. It's like standing outside in an Iowa winter without a coat on, facing down the usual 15 mile per hour winds gusting to 20 or 25 miles per hour, and checking your smartphone to see if it's windy. And after it's little digital screen says Yes, it's very windy day, and cold also, you continue to stand there, doing nothing, looking at the screen to tell you what to wear.
Why do you think that is, not the fanciful Iowa winter scenario as no one in Iowa does what I described, that 70% of us sleepwalk through our workday, at best. And our managers and leaders allow, even encourage us, to sleepwalk through our day?
Oh none of them will say they do. I never did. But, imagine the excitement in our first interviews. The glistening potential of our future was described in such clarity. The first day we were excited and motivated, full of yes-sir/no sir and yes ma'am and no ma'am. Anxious to learn, more anxious to please.
A year later, all of that excitement has gone. It's been crushed or forced to be left at home.
And companies suffer for that. The low scores of employee engagement (30%...30% of employees) report being engaged emotionally and intellectually in their work) that remain unchanged for the past DECADE cost companies about, oh say, $370 billion a year in lost productivity. What's it cost each of us as individuals? Happy, fulfilling lives? Happy marriages? Happy children, happy communities?
So, stop standing in the wind and checking your smartphone for the weather channel. Put on a coat or come inside.
While you're at work, recognize your employees for their strengths and successes. One day long ago, during their interview, you did that and they were excited. Do it again.
Here's Bob singing Subterranean Homesick Blues.
Update: This post was originally titled Employee Engagement, Weathermen and Wind Direction.