Americans disengaged with their work costing U.S. $450 billion a year: report

Not everyone is happy waking up at 7 a.m. on a Monday, hitting the concrete jungle and then sitting at their desk performing their paid duties until 5 p.m. and then heading back home on packed buses, trains or trams and then getting ready for bed. This unhappiness is costing us quite a bit of money.

Gallup published the findings of its “2013 State of the American Workplace” report and found that a large number of Americans are disengaged in their work and that disinterest is costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

According to the poll, 30 percent of the American workforce is engaged in their work, while 70 percent was either disengaged or miserable – 52 percent were “not engaged” and 18 percent were “actively disengaged.” It is estimated that this disengagement has led to between $450 billion and $550 billion in lost productivity.

These figures have remained at about the same since 2000.

Other details of the report found that women were more slightly engaged than their male counterparts (33 percent compared to 28 percent), transportation workers are the least engaged employees and Idaho workers are also the least engaged, while the state of Louisiana is the most engaged.

In addition, baby boomers (23 percent) and members of Generation X (19 percent) are the most likely to detest their jobs, while millennials are the least likely to hate their occupation (14 percent) – boomers and Generation Xers make up for 44 percent of the workforce and millennials account for eight percent of the workforce.

The reason why this has cost the country so much money is because these employees that hate their work continue to “undermine” what their colleagues, who are actively engaged in their line of work, accomplish in their tasks.

But who is to blame for this trend? Gallup puts the fault at the hands of managers. The reason is that they are the ones responsible for trying to encourage their employees to become more active and to track their progress.

“These managers from hell are creating active disengagement, costing the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually,” said John Clifton, Gallup CEO, in the report. “If your company reflects the average in the U.S., just imagine what poor management and disengagement are costing your bottom line.”

Clifton added in the report, “Organizations should coach managers to take an active role in building engagement plans with their employees, hold managers accountable, track their progress, and ensure they continuously focus on emotionally engaging their employees.”

The Gallup head likened his conclusions to the Congress and noted that if the government eliminated the “managers from hell” and doubled the productive managers and employees then the country would change dramatically from decreased healthcare costs to a rising GDP.

Here are Gallup’s definitions for the terms:

Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.

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 aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.

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