Prior to the pandemic, Gallup reported in September 2019 that 69% of employees were ‘actively disengaged’, indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers, while 51% were ‘not engaged’, meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes.
In March 2021, during the pandemic, the number of actively disengaged employees even increased to 74% (3 out of 4 employees). Compare this to Gallup’s 2011-2012 study, in which 24% were actively disengaged, while 63% were not engaged.
The Great Resignation
As the pandemic continued and despite labor shortages and high unemployment, workers have recently quit their jobs in large numbers. This exodus has been deemed The Great Resignation by organizational psychologist Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at May Business School at Texas A&M University. Given work’s elevated place in American culture, Klotz said he knew the existential crisis of business was bound to lead to an existential crisis for workers.
In an interview for Business Insider Klotz pointed out: “From organizational research, we know that when human beings come into contact with death and illness in their lives, it causes them to take a step back and ask existential questions,” Klotz said. “Like, what gives me purpose and happiness in life, and does that match up with how I’m spending my right now? So, in many cases, those reflections will lead to life pivots.”
This should create a moment of reflection for employers, according to Klotz. “I think we are entering a period of time where companies are trying to figure out, ‘Who are we in this new world of work? What kind of schedule do we want to give our employees?'”
How to Avoid The Great Resignation?
Research by Deloitte, the 2019 Global Human Capital Trends, concluded that [what could be causing the current employee exodus], “is mainly the [lack of] meaning and growth people find in the work itself—and to improve that, the entire organization has to be involved.” One of the biggest challenges Deloitte identified is the need to improve what is often called the “employee experience.” Eighty-four percent of the survey respondents rated this issue important, and 28 percent identified it as one of the three most urgent issues facing their organization.
MIT research shows that enterprises with a top-quartile employee experience, “achieve twice the innovation, double the customer satisfaction, and 25 percent higher profits than organizations with a bottom-quartile employee experience.” Employee experience is defined by two factors: work complexity, and behavioral norms associated with collaboration, creativity, and empowerment, i.e., the ability to create value.
What’s your risk exposure?
It is generally accepted that when a firm loses one-third of its workforce, the likelihood of bankruptcy raises significantly, as the organization is no longer capable of fulfilling its most basic business duties.
In our blogs, we’ve addressed many issues related to the division of labor, shifting the scales way too much toward specialization, a general lack of purpose, a lack of engagement, a lack of commitment, a lack of unity, a lack of vision, a lack of psychological safety, a lack of emotional intelligence, and so on. We saw this long coming!
ROUNDMAP™ framework and methodology are mostly about engaging employees and improving employee experience while working together across the mental and functional silos. Not just to act as close as possible to the market, to respond quickly to change in opportunities and threats, but to empower and to entrust employees to give their best to increase customer value. Because we’re all social creatures: we love to be part of a greater cause, we need to feel that we belong, and we really want to make a difference in someone else’s life.