Engagement – getting personal

Every fourth year Gallup produces a “State of the Global Workplace Report”. The report highlights findings from Gallup’s ongoing study of workplaces in more than 140 countries. It makes grim Reading.

“Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup’s new 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace. In other words, about one in eight workers — roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied — are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.”

Ouch! What about Western Europé?

Well, here the figure is slightly better at 14%. And for the UK? Well 17% are engaged at work.

Yet there are people I meet everyday who are fully engaged with their work. They are totally committed to their goals, put in tonnes of discretionary effort and at the same time have no one telling them they have to do this. They do it because they care. Because it is their business. Whether it is the local baker, my friendly builder or the couple that run my favourite pub.

Yet these people are worse off than most employees. They have no HR department to ensure they are well treated and well rewarded. They have no Learning and Development team to help them grow. They have no manager to protect them and keep them safe.

So what if, as employees, we started to think like these small business owners? What if we changed our relationship with our employer? What if each of us saw ourselves as owners of a small business? Our own personal company. With our own customers and our own suppliers.

Then we might want to start asking ourselves:

  • Who is my customer?
  • What are my customer’s needs, expectations, challenges and opportunities?
  • What is my vision and mission?
  • What is my brand statement?
  • What are my products?
  • What is the R&D investments in the company?
  • How do I formulate my price?
  • How do I formulate the offer to my Customer?

If we really want to do something about engagement, perhaps it is time for us to shift the paradigm.

For each of us to see ourselves as a personal Company.


Mark Manley
Partner, Gaia Leadership

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