Friday, June 12, 2015

Good news, things were once even worse!

Modern Survey just released their Spring 2015 employee engagement survey results: ”Modern Survey’s latest engagement numbers are out and the good news is that engagement is still high. The percentage of engaged employees hit a seven-year high in the fall of 2014.

Here are the numbers:

Positively Engaged
Percent of Total
Negatively Engaged
Percent of Total
Fully Engaged
Moderately Engaged
Under Engaged

The only good news here is that it’s been worse. When you recognize that a fully engaged employee is 240% more productive, more innovative and delivers highest quality work as compared to all other employees, having only 14% of your workforce doing that is appalling.

This isn't good news, it's a continuation of terrible news.

We know of organizations where the workforce is at, or near 100% fully engaged. There’s a difference in how these organizations operate. They typically do not have an engagement program or engagement initiatives. Those programs and initiatives are typically top-down activities delivered under a command-and-control environment.

 One of the best examples of a 100% engagement environment was in what you’d normally believe is a natural command-and-control organization - a US Navy nuclear fast attack submarine. Captain David Marquet took over command of the Santa Fe when it was the worst submarine in the fleet. In less than a year, using the existing crew, he turned it into the best. Actually, it would be much more correct to say the entire crew turned it into the best submarine in the fleet. Captain Marquet allowed his crew to be fully engaged.   He said, "Those who take orders usually run at half speed, underutilizing their imagination and initiative."  His approach is perhaps revealed in this quote about empowerment from his book:

 “The problem with empowerment programs is that they contain an inherent contradiction between the message and the method. While the message is ‘empowerment’ the method--it takes me to empower you--fundamentally disempowers employees. .. I didn’t understand why empowerment was needed. It seemed to me that humans are born in a state of action and natural empowerment...Empowerment programs appeared to be a reaction to the fact that we had actively disempowered people....I felt my power cam from within, and attempts to empower me felt like manipulation.1

1 Marquet, L. David. Turn the Ship Around!: How to Create Leadership at Every Level. Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group, 2012. Print.