I read an article from Harvard Business Review, my go to place when I want to know what’s hot in workplace research. Their research articles on the workplace are frequently a reaction to the results of an annual survey, “The State of the American Workplace,” conducted by Gallup.
Interesting how even with the continued trend of national and global employees joining the ranks of the disengaged, HBR’s article focused on a study not about disengagement, but engagement. Researchers are suggesting that, yes, the disengaged continue to challenge the bottom line, but those who are left to safeguard it, are suffering from burnout. They are stressed, fulfilling two or three job descriptions, and not getting enough down time.
This all leads to a kind of disengagement that we’re unaccustomed to hearing about. It stems from the body’s natural inability to function under the weight of stress and the extra responsibilities placed on it by America’s mere 13% engaged employees.
This suggests that business leaders and CEO’s must contend with the group whom they have relied upon, and took for granted in many instances, to slow down already declining productivity rates. This new research implies further unraveling of the U.S. workplace; furthermore, it did not propose any hopeful solutions to address this new crisis.
Business leaders might continue the search for solutions by dredging up some of those old HBS studies which proposed how to improve employee engagement: bonuses, increase vacation time, allow employees to work from home, redesign the employee lounge. But since none of those studies’ suggestions has halted the rate of disengagement which is now 87% (up from 45% in 2011) they’re not a real choice. It doesn’t mean they won’t try using these tactics again, just that it wouldn’t be economically prudent.
They could continue outsourcing jobs overseas. But Gallup’s report on the “State of the Global Workplace (2017)” strongly suggests that disengagement is increasing outside of the U.S. Besides, consumers are becoming aware of outsourcing and its effect on U.S. employees; not to mention the awareness and concern about the working conditions and safety regulations in these outsourced hotbeds, like Bangladesh and China.
What we can count on is businesses not compromising on the bottom line. They’ll do whatever it takes, as they are doing now, to pass on the cost of crippled production to consumers, who are also, by the way, workers. Unfortunately, HBR also published a study in 2017 stating that, ‘Since the early 1970’s, the hourly inflation-adjusted wages received by the typical worker have barely risen, growing only 0.2% per year.” So workers are and have been feeling financially pinched.
Businesses and business leaders, CEO’s and researchers are approaching a cul-de-sac. But it’s not simply the workplace and business world. Most of America’s beloved institutions are approaching their limit because the beliefs that supported and gave rise to them are approaching their limit. Remember that the essence of the belief in separation is the belief in lack and limitation.
What is more than hopeful, however, is a small, but expanding, population who are proposing an idea that is too attractive, impressive and powerful to dismiss or ignore:
Living in a radically (and the word radical doesn’t begin to encompass what follows), different way that it not only sustains the well-being-ness of non-human and human communities, but heals and regenerates all life that has been touched and ravaged by the demands and fears of the practice of the belief in separation.
This is huge! The national workplace would experience a total replacement of the current model of having to work and earn a living; replacement of the normalization of owing, paying and debt, competition and scarcity, lack and powerlessness. This new model would essentially usher in an end to the workplace as we know it.
Let’s face it, this is where the current energy is flowing. It’s the same current that opened “some” people’s eyes to the Earth being round. Sure people balked and ridiculed those who would dare depart from the old paradigm, but eventually the evidence of a round planet, evidence like people getting in boats sailing off to new horizons and returning to talk about it, was too obvious to deny.*
That same current is shifting our relationship with the medical establishment. Now this is not to criticize or malign health care professionals. It is only to suggest that there is a desire to change the relationship that we have with our bodies, to have a broader-based understanding of the interconnection of body, mind, planet and Spirit; and most of all to examine and come to terms with the relationship that we have developed with the pharmaceutical industrial complex and its impact on animal, plant, mineral and human communities.
That current is making itself felt as people return to producing their own food. The urban gardening and farming movement is burgeoning all over the country. Community gardens are springing up in many food challenged communities, some who are producing enough surplus to sell to local restaurants and from stalls at weekly community farmers’ markets.
The growing interest and expansion in the number of intentional communities and cooperatives, alternative housing, like tiny houses, the growing conversation about minimalism, the belief in “enough” and the daily practice of gratitude all suggest that people are questioning the old paradigm.
Who can ignore the conversation about gender and gender identification, the age-old polarization of male-female energy, the conflict and discord that has surrounded and accompanied it; the young, but impressive dialogue about white and human supremacy, and even species arrogance?
We are discovering that the old paradigm is the cause of our planetary malaise. We’re feeling the call to awaken and expand along a new path, one that will create a home-planet where peace and well-being reigns.
Naturally business researchers, leaders and CEO’s don’t exist in a vacuum. While some must maintain a posture that the old paradigm just needs some tweaking to get back on track, because that’s a part of the job description, in our hearts we all know that we are experiencing the end of the old and the creation of the new.
Maybe it’s not going to be said as clearly and emphatically as “shifting from earning, working hard, paying and owing to creating in communion with non-human and human communities for the highest good of all life on the planet.” But the latest revelation about the disengagement of the engaged 13% makes it more challenging for workplace researchers to supply business leaders, owners and CEO’s with the evidence that everything is getting back on track.
We can continue to keep up appearances and collect our pay checks, but we all know that a new day is on the horizon.
* There is a wealth of research to indicate that people from most parts of the world, Asia, the Americas, and Africa, were traveling all over the globe long before some Europeans discovered that the Earth was round.
Here’s the link to the HBR article: https://hbr.org/2018/02/1-in-5-highly-engaged-employees-is-at-risk-of-burnout
Below please find some additional information on the American workplace and topics I’ve previously discussed.
PTSD levels in American prison employees: https://bigthink.com/ned-dymoke/american-prison-employees-show-ptsd-levels-similar-to-iraq-and-afghanistan-war-veterans
Student Loan Debt Crisis: https://www.facebook.com/UndividedATTN/videos/326371104774715/