Are you engaged at work?


The alarm went off at 5.31 this morning and half an hour later I was out in the garage starting my strength & conditioning workout. I’m trying to do a couple of these a week, on top of my bike sessions, so the only way I can fit them in is to get up early.

I like to listen to podcasts when I’m working out, and this morning I noticed that Marcus Sheridan had dropped a new episode of Mad Marketing. I like Marcus, I was lucky enough to spend time with him earlier this year on his World Class Communication programme, so this morning I chose Marcus as my workout companion.

Sometimes Marcus just riffs on his own, his thoughts are always interesting and insightful, however this episode was a conversation with Lisa Cummings, and the discussion centred on whether we should focus on our strengths, not our weaknesses. During the episode, the conversation moved to the subject of engagement. Lisa shared a statistic that stopped me in my tracks.

She’d asked Marcus the question, ” What percentage of people say they are engaged at work?”. Marcus took a guess, based on his experience, at 50%. Seemed reasonable. Then Lisa shared the result, based on research done earlier this year – 13%.

13%! Holy Moly!! Are things really that bad that just over 10% of people feel engaged by their work? That’s awful!

They also spoke about what made work engaging. I spent some time in Germany last summer as part of a research group that was exploring the future of work and what made a high performing culture. Engagement, and doing work that made people feel energised was high up that list. One of the people I met that week was Cathy Brown, who is CEO of Engage for Success, a U.K.-based organisation that does work in this area.

We had some interesting discussions that week about what kind of environment and culture is conducive to engagement. It comes down to Leadership, the kind of stuff Simon Sinek talks about. The organisations with the most engaged employees have a very clear purpose – they know Why they do what they do. These organisations are also the ones with the most energised people, who genuinely love what they do.

Given a choice, I know what type of organisation I would rather work in.

What’s your experience of engagement? Is it as low as 13% where you are? Do you feel engaged by your work? Let me know in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Are you engaged at work?

  1. Today I listened to the same podcast on a car journey (and impressed my wife with the 13% statistic I’d read earlier in your blog post).

    Since taking early retirement to concentrate on my own business, I love what I’m doing and my engagement is much higher than 13%. It’s not quite 100% though – because I keep stopping to read blog posts and leave comments. 😉

    But it’s all about doing what I love and having a clear purpose.

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