It’s Not True That 63% of Your Workforce are Actively Disengaged


Gallup reported in its October 2013 State of the Global Workplace that “Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.” They conclude that 63% are actively disengaged.  Digging deeper Tracy Maylett and Paul Warner in their 2014 bookMAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Employee Engagement perform their own study.  Avoiding alarmist hyperbole, they conclude that actually only 4% are actively disengaged – though those 4% can be toxic to your organization.  Here is what they say:

  1. 23% FULLY ENGAGED – enthusiastic champions of the organization. They take gratification in the quality of their work, are constantly learning. They love their jobs, which they find fun and challenging.
  2. 49% KEY CONTRIBUTORS – the majority of the workforce, they get things done and respond well to leadership, but typically invest limited time in improving processes or breaking away from the status quo.
  3. 25% OPPORTUNITY GROUP – a quarter of the workforce feel underutilized, spend a lot of time of personal things. They do enough to get by, but are marking time. Often they are burned out and checked out.
  4. 4% DISENGAGED – bored, frustrated, and blame others for their failures. They seldom quit, but are cancerous and toxic as their cynicism is contagious.

Importantly, they claim that groups 2 (Key Contributors) and 3 (Opportunity Group) are rather fluid, with levels of engagement changing over time. However, those in group 1 and 4 move much less frequently into one of the other groups.

Learn the facts of employee engagement at my workshop Inspire Employee Engagement using the Principles of Lean, Agile, and the Theory of Constraints on July 24th in Bellevue.


Paul Osborn

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