If I were to suggest that Vermont employers annually meet on the Statehouse lawn to burn $640 million dollars in cash, you'd probably think I need to talk to a psychologist.
Yet, Vermont employers do this each and every year by not engaging their employees.
Gallup's research on employee engagement indicates that employers waste nearly $3,400 per $10,000 of salary when paying actively disengaged employees. This $3,400 "investment" in your people returns absolutely no benefit. None.
Furthermore, about 14% of Vermont's employed workforce is actively disengaged. That's nearly 47,000 people actively working against their employer's initiatives. If each of them are earning an average of $40,000, (approximately Vermont's median income) then we might as well "burn" close to $13,600 for each person. That's nearly $640 million each and every year. Yes, million with an "M".
For those who don't want to waste salary dollars, here are some suggested action items:
In my next post, I'll highlight in greater detail how developing your team's talents ties to enhancing employee engagement. Watch this space.
By Chad T. Ahern
talent (noun, tal·ent | ˈta-lənt \): a person of talent or a group of persons of talent in a field or activity. (Merriam-Webster). See also Talent Management.
Talent (noun, tal·ent | ˈta-lənt): a naturally recurring way of thinking, feeling, or behaving that can be productively applied. (Gallup). See also Strength.
As Vermont's unemployment rate continues to hover around 3% many business leaders and HR professionals continue to worry they won't be able to find enough of the former. Yet, I wonder if we've done enough to capitalize on the latter within our state's population.
To truly access the full potential of Vermont's workforce we must combine the training of skills, the exchange of knowledge, and, most importantly, the identification and development of individuals' and teams' innate Talents. It is in this effort that we can unlock the best of what our current workforce can offer to their employers, their families, and their communities.
At the end of 2015, Art Woolf published this article in Burlington Free Press detailing the rise in the number of jobs and the decline in size of the labor force here in Vermont.
The rise in jobs indicates that there is a rise in the amount of work to do. You typically don’t establish a new position unless there is work for that person to do. At the same time, there are fewer people to do all the work necessary.
To solve this dilemma, I would argue there are three basic solutions:
Increase the size of the labor force. More people = adequate workforce. It’s a nice idea; unfortunately, according to this report from the Public Assets Institute, Vermont is seeing its workforce “age out,” and its efforts to attract a growing number of younger workers fail (see pages 22 and 23 in particular).
Decrease or stabilize the workload. Not ideal, but we would hopefully avoid burning-out our state’s employees & employers. This solution will likely have the undesirable effect of stagnating Vermont’s economy even further.
Become more efficient.. Vermont’s businesses, non-profits, and organizations will need to find new ways to produce more from the same population. Putting aside efficiency found by improving our tools and our surroundings, I would argue that a new age of efficiency can be found by applying the ABCD’s of Strength-Based Leadership (focus near the end of this article).
Since the first two solutions are unlikely in the immediate future, I hold onto hope that Vermont re-embraces its "New Englander, entrepenuerial, can-do", attitude to redefine what 21st century work-teams look like, how we utilize the best of people, and what it means to work and thrive in the Green Mountain State.
At its core, Talent and Teams Consulting seeks to serve those who wish to build more efficient teams and workplaces. Please get in touch if you’d like help implementing Strengths-Based Leadership at your organization.
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