And we don’t care!

A while ago there was a Gallup survey telling us only 32 percent of the 67,000 full- and part-time employees surveyed were engaged in their work in 2022, while 18 percent were actively disengaged. Active disengagement has risen each year since 2020. The remaining respondents—50 percent—were neither engaged nor actively disengaged.

Engagement is an intrinsic attitude that denotes an employee’s enthusiasm for his or her job. Commitment, on the other hand, denotes an employee’s enthusiasm for the company he or she works for.


My immediate reflection was that the numbers must be wrong or/and biased by the american culture where the respondents were. Only 32% of us are engaged and 50% of us only goes to work and back again (disengaged)? 18% are fighting for the status quo (actively disengaged)? So i did some research at my own company which consist of 204 persons, where 30 are consultants, 40 are employees and the rest (134) are internal stakeholders to us. First i did a analytics check in my ”master” MS Teams space where most of our information goes. You will find the analytics tab under Manage team. Below our score for April 2023. Next i created my own metric for engagement which consist of four sub-metrics:

1(4) Interactions

The Analytics view in Microsoft Teams

Based on this analytics view, i focused on posts, replies and reactions and invented my own formula i call Interactions:

  • Members = Users – Stakeholders (score 204-134 = 70)
  • Attention = Posts*3 + Replies*2 + Reactions*1 (Score 78+96+141 = 315)
  • Interactions = Members/Attention (score 70/315 = 22%)

My formula should give more points for posts by non-managers but that will be for next version.

2(4) Curiosity

I did not stop there, i needed more metrics so i posted this in the Teams channel and waited a week:

This verified my gut feeling about disengagement with only 9 people of 70 (13%) actually reading in Teams – our only information source now when Corona eliminated the others. I call this metric for Curiosity.

3(4) Importance

But i still doubted – are we really that bad?13%!? So i posted another one, now more challenging and visual plus adding a notification for importance and waited another week.

This time i got 27 reactions (38%). I call this metric Importance.

4(4) Response rate

But i was still in doubt. So i managed to get the response rate for our monthly NPS survey. It was 28, but here it is not clear if it is percent or numbers of people responding. If the latter, it is great and with 40 employees it means 70%.

Summary of metrics

  • Interactions 22%
  • Curiosity 13%
  • Importance 38%
  • Response rate 70%
  • Average/Engagement 36%

Root causes?

So one third of us care and the others only goes to work and home again – why? Here is my guess.

Psychological Safety is when you have the benefit of doubt and dare to speak up and challenge. At my company it no problem to do this. But few do and i wonder why? I guess this is because there is no awareness of the need?

Awareness is the A in ADKAR. If you are not aware of the need for change, you cannot desire (D in ADKAR ) and engage in the change. Younger companies are aware of the need for speed, else they will die, but companies like mine (100+ years) will live forever they think, so here we need to step up before it is too late.

Involvement is when you are given the opportunity to be engaged in activities beside your daily work. Think tanks, communities, focus groups etc. And your word is listened to and not just a alibi. At my company we have these forums but only top management or experts are invited. Being sidestepped and not involved, i believe, is at least for me the signal to challenge, accept or move to next (where accept is never an option for me).

Incentives are lacking. What’s in it for me? Why should i engage? I have my salary and that is enough.

Identity is when you feel as a part of a greater whole such as a fan for my favorite team. Wearing the same jerseys at match day is tightening the bonds. The same goes for my company. I have been working 13 years for this company and nobody has worn the company t-shirt at Café Opera (trendiest nightclub in Stockholm in the -90s.) with pride like i did, i promise. Today at my company few people feel ”at home” like i do but to be honest – its only a job so why bother?

Purpose is when your effort is making a difference in the community and not only in your shareholders pocket or whats worse; working for doubtful business like the betting or porn. My company is a great place to work for many reasons, not only for the purpose of our business.

Transparency is when you have the whole picture all the time. For companies in the stock market it is regulated but for my company it is not. Information and clarity is what we need to understand why we do as we do. This clarity combined with great leadership generates commitment. At my company we work in silos with an ivory tower on top and all info we get is the monthly all hands meeting.

How to improve

I think it all starts with (again) true leadership instead of traditional leadership. Management must convert to leaders and trust people. When this trust is true, involvement is the next step. And then make sure the already engaged people become the ambassadors for this change with a mission to convert the disengaged. I also believe to incentivize the engaged and abandon the actively disengaged. Small tokens often for appreciation, targeting each persons intrinsic motivation. For me a pat on the shoulder works fine. But for my company i am concerned. Many employees have worked whole their life for my company but have nothing to tell about the years – they just went to work – and didn’t really care.

Disclamier: This post was scouting from the trenches and have low scientific value due to lack of professors. All companies mentioned are real. No laggards were hurt during production.


Ove Holmberg

Doubter, gaffer, author