There has to be a better way…

Everyday, over 100 million people wake up uninspired and unengaged by their current jobs.

These people are peeling themselves out of bed, dispassionate about the day ahead. They are going through that day uninspired and unmotivated to bring their very best to the world. That sucks.

Lack of engagement is a popular problem in business with big ramifications. According to GALLUP, those 100 million unengaged people make up 71% of the workforce. This lack of engagement is decreasing overall business productivity by 50% when compared to their counterpart companies with an engaged workforce. 50%!

Further, of the 144 million total people employed in the United States, there will be an estimated 50 million job separations in 2013 alone according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

To solve these very expensive problems, leaders take to management articles, books, trainings, and seminars. They read about various comp plans, motivation strategies, flat hierarchies, remote work, to name a few.

Despite the vast amounts of content that has been created on how to improve this issue, engagement has been essentially static, oscillating between 28%-30% since 2001. Employee tenure has been static since 1983. I propose that these management methodologies are bringing nothing more than short term results for reasons that are never going to change.

The majority of unengaged employees are unengaged for a reason. They are unengaged due to bad fit. Bad fit for the role, team culture, company culture, company mission, management’s style… Pick one. Pick multiple. This misaligned fit to their core keeps them dispassionate, unengaged, and uninspired by their work. This is not a revolutionary conclusion by the way. This is the conclusion we virtually always come to before letting someone go if we evaluate the underlying issue.

But let’s look at the pattern. We hire people hoping they will work out, thinking we can “manage” them to success whether they fit the organization at their core or not. “Manage” them into being engaged. But here is the important point the static numbers above bring us to. You will rarely be able to do this. You will rarely be able to turn people into a fit, if at their core they are not.

So the simple conclusion becomes clear. Start hiring people who are a perfect fit. Create business relationships that, at their core, are a fit and don’t need management tactics to produce engagement. The only issue with that, quite simply, is finding those people is very difficult in general, if not impossible when you actually need them.

Or is it?

Seth Godin asserts that the internet is not homogenizing the world like most thought, but instead it is creating silos of interest. It is creating tribes. These tribes are a collection of people with similar beliefs, values, and interests. This has powerful implications for everything from relationships (Match.com) to design (Threadless.com).

So what about employment?

The current hiring paradigm in the business world is that hiring is a crap shoot. You never know what you are getting in someone until they come on board. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Our society is burgeoning with constructs that are allowing us to profile and match people of common interests, values, and beliefs.

If companies and candidates begin putting the proper resources into allowing these constructs to work for the world of business we will start to make significant progress. If road maps were created to help these companies and candidates struggling with how to do this, we would start to see significant progress.

It is time that we start changing the fact that over 100 million people are waking up uninspired by their daily work. I believe we can create a world for our children that is full of inspired people who are creating inspired work, propelling our world forward at a level we have never seen before. It is time that we stop accepting the old paradigm that hiring people who are a fit is out of our control. It is time that candidates start taking more ownership over their evaluation of a company and its core instead of just wanting to land a job. It is time that we start forging a new way and to forge a new way we first need to understand what the correct problem is. From there, people who are inspired to fix this problem will start finding those answers.

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