No Motivation at Work? Unfortunately, You’re Not Alone.

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- 4 min read

When asked to talk about their passion, hobby, or favorite activity in life, you can see people become excited on the spot. Twinkling eyes, intense expressions, increased confidence. Their enthusiasm is contagious and inspiring.

You must notice it yourself as well when talking about a subject you are really passionate about. You feel at ease, confident and at the 'top of your game'. You want to share your knowledge and experiences to inspire the people around you.

A sad reality

Unfortunately, when asked to talk about their main passion, only for a few of us the first thing that comes to mind is work. This is a sad reality. Very sad actually. How come that our second most time consuming activity in life (after sleeping) is something that most people are not passionate about? When did we ever decide this to be acceptable? And why? Whatever the answers to these questions may be, it's time for a change. But in order to make that change, it is important to understand the severity of the problem. Therefore in this post, we go into more detail on the depressing numbers of motivation at work.

The data from Gallup's State of the Global Workplace is mind-blowing. Gallup is an American research-based, global performance-management consulting company and it is best known for its public opinion polls conducted in several countries. Gallup has collected the data during two waves of engagement research in a period from 2009 till 2012, with more than 200.000 respondents worldwide. The study differentiates employees in three groups: engaged, disengaged, and actively disengaged. The definitions are as follows:

  • Engaged Employees - ”Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.”
  • Disengaged Employees - ”Not engaged employees are essentially ‘checked out.’ They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time — but not energy or passion — into their work.”
  • Actively Disengaged Employees - “Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.”

Worldwide disengagement statistics

The reported results are worrying: globally, only 13% of the respondents report to be engaged in their daily work. A staggering 63% of the employees is disengaged, while 24% of the employees is even actively disengaged. This means that 87% is disengaged, resulting in: more sickness, time wasting activities, expressions of unhappiness, work-related accidents, and so on.

The average of the Western European countries measured shows even poorer results, as you can see in the pie-charts below. This makes a surprisingly sad ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees of 0.7 to 1. In comparison, US and Canada score a 1.6 to 1 ratio where Australia and New Zealand score a ratio of 1.5 to 1.

Among European countries, The Netherlands and France appear at the bottom of the rank with the least motivated workforce. Strikingly, only 9% of the Dutch and French workforce reports to be engaged with their work. It means that if you work in these places, less than 1 out of 10 of your colleagues is happy with his daily tasks. If you happen to be at work right now, take a look around: it is very likely that the people around you are not fully engaged.

If you are reading this at work, you might be part of it yourself as well... In France, the lowest ranking country, the situation is even more depressing. If you happen to be at work in France, out of the 4 people surrounding you right now at least 1 is sabotaging your workplace. We can only imagine the effects of such negative behavior for the surrounding colleagues.

The numbers of Gallup's report shocked us, and probably shock you too. It shows that the problem is severe and that a serious change is needed.

Our next post goes into more detail on the effects of a disengaged versus an engaged workforce. You will see the disastrous effects of an unhappy workforce on productivity, sickness, safety, revenues, employee retention, etc. We also show you the incredible amounts of untapped potential of happy and engaged employees. You can imagine, as for your own situation, you are much more successful when you are fully engaged and happy at work.

Stay tuned to find out more!

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