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younger generation
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Engaging The Disengaged – Becoming An Employer Of Choice
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Engaging the Disengaged – Becoming An Employer Of Choice

In my last article, The Impact of Canada's Positive Job Numbers on our Shrinking Skilled Workforce, I noted that the result of this increase is that less people are content to stay with their employer. Generally, people are more optimistic about their careers; they can see the possibilities and are more comfortable looking outside their current roles to new opportunities with other organizations. Generationally, both baby boomers and the younger generation are less patient in their roles now that they know there are other opportunities that require their skills. Knowing this, as an employer you can create an environment where your employees enjoy their work so that they will be less likely to leave. In fact, not only will they be less likely to leave, they will also begin to recommend your organization as a place to work and do business.

On average, 27% of people love their jobs which means that 73% do not! The people who love their jobs are responsible for 60% of the productivity. This is a very telling statistic. As an employer, creating an environment where your employees love their job makes a lot of sense.

Of those who do not love their jobs, 14% are actively disengaged with work and are in fact, are counter-productive and destructive. The most recent data shows that 85% of disengaged employees are looking for a job somewhere else; this number is up from 55% two years ago. These disengaged employees may be wonderful people, but they have lost their way. Both the employer and employee have a role to play in making sure this doesn't happen. As individuals, we have a responsibility to know our strengths and to identify opportunities to apply our strengths at work. As an employer, you need to be able to recognize strengths in your team and leverage those strengths to create an engaged workforce.

Only 15% of engaged employees look for a job outside of their current work. A big difference from the 85% of those who are disengaged. It is likely you cannot afford to lose your employees and would prefer to have them engaged and focused on your organization’s goals given the benefits that come from leading this kind of organization.

There are strategies you can employ to turn on the team you already have and create an engaged workforce that will lead you down the path to becoming an employer of choice.

1. Recognize the correlation between an employee’s individual purpose and the purpose of your organization. In other words, if your employees understand the role they play in your organization and how what they do has an impact, they are more likely to be engaged.

2. Identify the strengths of the people on your team and allow them to excel. Take the time to figure out what motivates your team. It is in everyone’s best interest when your employees feel inspired by their work and passionate about what they do. It is your role as a leader to make this happen.

3. Communicate with your team; with four generations in the workplace, a strong communication strategy is critical. Lack of communication will create doubt and uncertainty and lead to an erosion of morale and engagement.

4. Embrace diversity; understanding the unique characteristics of each employee will allow individuality and contribute to a more cohesive team.

5. Invest in your employees through training, mentoring and technology. This investment will help increase individual productivity.

6. Give constant feedback; in the middle of all the stress and chaos, be sure to recognize the achievements of your team.

All the best on your "Journey to Engagement".

Street Talk


Great information, Eddie! I am hoping you could qualify something please as it would be great ammunition when speaking of the need to engage for the purpose of retention. Do you have statistics around job movement based on the generations? For example, from my recollection, baby boomers have not traditionally changed their jobs or they have changed jobs but with far less frequency than Gen X or, especially, Gen Y. What statistics can you provide round the % of baby boomers will change their job every X years? This is a generation we need to keep given their experience and corporate knowledge. It would be powerful to understand the statistical changes at play given the dynamics of the workplace to help make the business case for dialogue and training. Thank you.

  about 9 years ago

Thanks for the comment, I am afraid I don't have the % per generation but X and Y have lower levels of engagement which would increase the rate at which they leave a company. Our experience shows the turnover is much lower with the baby boomers that have tenure, seniority and pensions. However, we are now seeing more boomers move around as well – it has much to do with the job opportunities opening as the boomers retire. It is hard to measure boomers moving because as many of them are retiring and then showing back up in the job market so it is hard to tell if they are leaving for another job or just leaving. It is very clear that the younger generation is under-employed which contributes greatly to their high turnover. Employees that do not have meaningful work and do not get to leverage their strengths at work will become disengaged. Many of these disengaged employee will leave in search of finding a better position. Employees become engaged when they get to use their strengths to help a company achieve its goals. Age is irrelevant – if they are engaged, they will stay longer. I hope this helps feel free to contact me directly if I can be of any further assistance!

  about 9 years ago
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