How Can You Improve Employee Engagement? Be Present.

Where are you right now - physically, emotionally, and mentally? Are you in your office, feeling stressed, thinking about something that hasn't happened yet? Are you in a meeting, feeling frustrated because the opinion you shared five minutes ago was quickly dismissed? Are you sitting at the dinner table in silence, eating but failing to taste the great meal your spouse cooked for you, thinking about the conversation you have to have tomorrow?

When Gallup recently released their findings from their latest employee engagement survey many were struck by the fact that 70% of employees are disengaged at work and 20% of the disengaged workers are actively disengaged - meaning they are not only unhappy at work, they are busy acting out their unhappiness. How can it be that so many people are disengaged at work and what can organizations do about it?

Gallup’s Chairman and CEO suggests that:

When leaders in the United States of America — or any country for that matter — wake up one morning and say collectively, “Let’s get rid of managers from hell, double the number of great managers and engaged employees, and have those managers lead based on what actually matters,” everything will change. The country’s employees will be twice as effective, they’ll create far more customers, companies will grow, spiraling healthcare costs will decrease, and desperately needed GDP will boom like never before.

I don't believe that this is strictly a management problem.

Engagement is an individual choice and a habit. If we want to improve employee engagement, managers and employees need to practice being present. Stop worrying about what might happen and notice the possibility that exists in this moment. Stop wondering why something you said five minutes ago was ignored and listen to what others are saying right now. Taste the food on your plate and be grateful for the wonderful meal.

Being present and noticing what is happening in the moment is a skill worth practicing. Stop living in the past or the future and start experiencing the present. Get engaged! The present moment is a gift to appreciate!

Question: What are you doing to practice being present?