Working Hard or Hardly Working Bill Spindloe

working hard






Only 13% of us are actually engaged in the workplace. According to a recent Gallup Poll.

Based upon my experience this is sad, but sounds about right.

63% are apparently not engaged and 24% actively disengaged.

All of this conflicts of course with the other surveys that pop up with some frequency like – ‘insert country/industry here’- works harder/more productive than anyone else type surveys.

One thing that engagement surveys like the Gallup one, is that disengaged employees are not productive. The actively disengaged could actually be deliberately pulling in the opposite direction.

Indeed many us may have to work long hours, but long hours and productivity are not necessarily linked. I have worked with many people who work very long hours, but who have not been any more productive than those who clocked in at 9am and left at 5pm on the dot.

So I decided to undertake my own little survey among family, friends and former colleagues. Around a 5th of those I polled felt in general engaged and motivated. around three fifths felt mostly disengaged but bore their company no particular ill will. The last 20% mostly seemed to feel that should their bosses meet an untimely end they would happily  participate in a dance competition on the grave.

The odd thing was that when I asked if they think they worked hard and productively nearly all stated emphatically,  yes. The less engaged especially were keen to tell me that their respective bosses got way more than their monies worth out of them. Yet we know that this is almost certainly not true.

The more prominent voices in the Business world in the last 30 years have told us that ‘you cannot mandate productivity’ – Steve Jobs, or  that all that matters in respect of an organization’s overall performance: ’employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow.’–Jack Welch. Whether you agree that ‘paychecks do not buy performance’ as Brad Federman states or that ‘Some companies don’t have an engagement problem, they have a hiring problem.’  that Bob Kelleher feels the numbers on the survey are clear. We are more likely to tell the truth about our levels of engagement than how hard we work and if we want the situation to improve we need to address this.

“Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer.” –Peter Drucker

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