The #1 Reason People are Not Engaged at Work


If you ask leaders and bosses what is the most important thing that they need to provide to employees to engage them at work, the research repeated over the last 40 years states, that most leaders will say Money. The irony is that if you ask employees the same thing the answer is quite different – Positive Attention from the boss—in the form of knowing what is going on, and focusing on your strengths. Yes, money is important in the sense that workers want to feel that they are paid fairly, but the attention and type of attention a boss pays to an employee makes all the difference in the world in the level of employee engagement.


In a research paper by Krueger et. Al. entitled, National Time Accounting, The Currency of Life out of Princeton University, states that the most disengaged workers are those that the boss pays NO ATTENTION to. Nada, Rien, Nothing. If your boss (or you as a boss) pay no attention to employees there is 40% chance the worker will be disengaged. If a boss, does in fact pay negative attention, the level of disengagement goes down to 22%, and if the boss (you) pay positive attention focusing on the strengths of the employee and keeping them in the “know,” the level of disengagement goes down to 1% or 99% of these folks will be engaged.


So what does paying positive attention actually mean and why is it so hard to do.

First, pay attention. Notice (if you are the boss) how many times a day or week you talk to your employees, send an email, thank them, encourage them, support them, and most importantly focus on building their strengths to be even more productive and achieve fantastic results.


Second, ask your employee (or if you are an employee tell your boss) what you need from them to be actively engage. What type of coaching, support, information, challenge, or training do you need to fully be engaged.


Being a boss, leader and manager is a job not to be taken lightly. In the spirit of creating a healthy joyful life, paying attention to how we can uplift our good feelings about work is critical and like most things if we pay a bit of attention to it, we can impact the career well-being and therefore the life well-being of millions of people.


On the other side, if you have a boss you would prefer to ignore, you can choose to talk to him/her and tell them what you need, find a new boss, or find support elsewhere to help you achieve the career well-being you need to live a healthy joyful life.


The good news is we do have control over how we pay attention and it doesn’t cost a dime.   


Let me know what you are doing to help your employees be engaged!

Suzanne Saxe-Roux