Engaged employees not so engaged after all

Engaged employees not so engaged after all

Half of all engaged employees are unhappy with their employer, according to new research from Intégro Leadership Institute. Based on a survey of more than 1,000 Australian employees, Intégro found that 44% of individuals who identified themselves as ‘passionate’ about their work were not passionate about their employer.

The findings appear in a new paper titled Bridging the Employee Passion Deficit. The paper argues that the hidden ‘passion deficit’ is a threat to productivity and employee retention.

“In the modern knowledge economy, the most talented people have invested heavily to develop their skills – they love what they do, and they are likely to be considered ‘engaged’ employees in any typical engagement survey,” said Keith Ayers, co-author of the paper. “But engagement is not enough. They also want to work for an organisation they are passionate about, and are prepared to shop around to find one.”

The paper also demonstrates the size of the gap between employees who are passionate about both the job and the organisation, and those who are merely passionate about the job. In terms of their emotional connection to the organisation, the 44% who are merely passionate about the job are more closely aligned to totally disconnected employees than they are to those who are also passionate about the organisation. In other words, these ‘engaged’ employees are thoroughly emotionally disconnected from the organisation.

Ayers and co-author Dr. Frank Cahill also identified four factors employees most commonly view as causing their emotional disconnect from the company:

  1. They believe their manager does not trust them or treat them with respect
  2. They do not see how their work contributes to the purpose or mission of the organisation
  3. They do not see the organisation as being sufficiently honest or transparent with employees
  4. They do not feel free to express their own ideas and opinions.

“Leaders can make a start on bridging the employee deficit by addressing these four factors,” said Cahill. “As the size of the passion deficit demonstrates, it is a significant task. But given the difficulty of attracting top talent, it is clearly worth the effort to retain the great people you’ve already got.”


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