Get a Life

By Judith Welles

Blog archive

Get a Life: Looking at worker engagement

Research shows that only 20 to 30 percent of North American workers are engaged in their work.  That is, they are absorbed intellectually and emotionally in their work and giving their best efforts to help achieve organizational goals. 

On the other hand, studies have also found that nearly all workers are engaged when they begin a job, but the longer employees work in an organization, the more their engagement decreases.

This research is cited by the Merit Systems Protection Board as background for a new report on why employees are engaged more in their work at some federal agencies than in others.  

In its report, the MSPB found that employee engagement is higher in agencies where supervisors have strong working relationships with employees, provide useful feedback and recognize contributions.

The MSPB also found that, as most of us know, the vast majority of federal employees take great pride in both their work and their agencies. But even with that pride, their passion for the work declines when they do not have current goals and clear performance expectations. 

Engagement also falls when employees do not feel free to express their opinions to managers and when feedback is lacking. MSPB’s survey found that 40 percent of employees at all levels said they receive feedback at least every two weeks. But 32 percent said they receive feedback only twice per year or less.  

On recognition, only half of federal employees believe recognition is linked to performance. In fact, survey respondents said that some supervisors deal with the problem of poor performers by transferring their work to others. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents reported that they routinely do more than their fair share of work because of poorly performing co-workers.

Managers need to engage themselves more in managing employee engagement.  

Posted by Judith Welles on Aug 26, 2009 at 12:12 PM


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