Employee Engagement in the Workplace: A Disaster of Epic Proportions

realized-1238069The American workforce is largely disengaged from the goals and objectives of the organizations by which they are employed.

The 2015 State of the American Workplace study, conducted by Gallup for the past several years, shows that less than one-third (33%) of employees in the U.S. are considered engaged in their jobs and with the companies they represent.

employee engagement

That’s a staggering statistic! Unfortunately, it’s staggeringly poor. Let’s put that into perspective as we consider the impact this would have on workforce productivity at five of America’s most recognized tech companies. Again, this is just an example of the number of disengaged employees we could have if the national averages held at each of these companies.

Company Name Total Employees Disengaged Employees at 32.1% Engagement Rate
HP 302,000 205,058
Amazon 222,400 151,009
Microsoft 118,500 80,461
Apple 115,000 78,085
Google 59,975 40,723







What’s the Problem?

Without question, you can remove a certain segment of workers from the population because you’ll never be able to engage them at work. Those individuals will always have the “clock-me-in, leave-me-alone, clock-me-out, and forget-about-it” mentality. However, a larger segment of the population truly desires to bring value and be valued at their company. Well why aren’t they engaged then?

Peel Back the Onion

The answer to this question has multiple layers and many dynamic factors. But when you peel back those layers, the biggest element contributing to lack of employee engagement is leadership. Hold on, though! Before you go pointing your finger at “over-paid” CEOs and business executives, consider just who at the leadership level of companies has the most engagement with employees. Yup…middle management, including front-line supervisors, managers, directors, and department heads.

Two major deficiencies at the middle management layer are the main culprits affecting employee engagement. They are the relational and accountability aspects of management or leadership.

Most managers do not establish the proper foundation for a successful team/employee relationship. Being pals with your team does not lead to employee satisfaction. Neither does being aloof or acting like you’re “above” them. What really drives employee engagement in this area is mutual trust and respect based on professionalism, performance, and the value placed on each team member’s contributions.

Accountability, or the lack thereof, is the other major problem today. This is not to promote dictatorships in the management ranks because accountability cuts both ways. The leader is accountable on both a personal and a professional level to:

  • His or her team,
  • Performance of the team, and
  • Meeting the objectives of the organization.

Can This Help Me In the Job Market?

Executives, and rising middle managers, that are able to instill this type of culture in their organization are highly coveted because so many companies talk about change leadership but have a hard time delivering it. Likewise, those executives continually recruit directors and managers that “get it,” so positioning yourself in the market (we call it “branding”) as an accountable, relationship-building leader will result in the type of opportunities in which you’ll have the opportunity to work with inspired, engaged employees…and will help you be engaged yourself.

Don’t underestimate the power of team and culture leadership in your resume and LinkedIn profile. But be sure to have an effective strategy in place for how you present those skills. Having the right blend of hard-core, high-impact achievements along with those “soft” skills is critical to getting the response you’re looking for from executives and recruiters.

Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

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