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The Happy Land of the Low Performers

You know that saying "Nothing will kill a great employee faster than watching you tolerate the bad ones"? It is not just a saying, we have data to back this one up.

I always knew it just by looking around at companies. Those who do nothing are as happy as Larry and those who pull the weight for others, well, they feel that weight.

But they don't get help, instead, they get more work while watching their counterparts getting away with murder.

Employee Engagement is Higher for Low Performers in 42% of the Companies.

If this doesn't ring the alarm bell about the engagement narrative that has been proven wrong millions of times you are beyond help! Even Gallup published two reports this year that proved them wrong lol! One report listed the top five least engaged workforce by country. The second report listed the top five countries with the highest productivity. Guess what? They were the same countries.

So the question should be, "Why are high performers less engaged?"

This report (above with the link) resonates so much and it is likely that the "Great Place to Work" BS (about that in another article) is produced by low performers who live in lala land! Sorry correction, not likely but more like it is! Low performers produce it because that paid advertisement campaign does not look at performance.

Could this way of looking at things refute everything we say about millennials and Gen Z? Could it be that they are disengaged because they want to produce but they understand how inefficient organisations are and they haven't got the power to change it because the Boomers are still holding onto power?

Look at these stats about the happiness of the low-performers:

  • I am motivated to give 100% effort when I am at work. Low Performer (LP) 5.99 vs High Performer (HP) 5.36

  • I recommend the organisation to work for LP 5.79 vs HP 5.24

  • The leadership holds people accountable for their performance LP 4.88 vs 4.26

  • My direct line manager recognises my accomplishment with praise LP 5.49 vs HP 4.94

  • Success in my career is dependent on my personal actions and choices (not the choices/actions of others) LP 5.96 vs HP 5.24

  • Employees at this company live up to the same standards LP 4.47 vs HP 3.72

If these stats don't slap you in the face you are in a coma. Everything people complain about is in these six stats.

This happiness BS that has been shoved down our throats in the past decade is now showing. Happiness or engagement (whatever that means) is not the aim. It is the by-product or the result of a functional workplace. Same as your marriage or relationship.

You don't enter a relationship by actively working on "How can I make him/her happy and keep them engaged?" That would be silly! You make sure that there is structure, boundaries, schedule, roles, responsibilities, conversations, honesty, respect, intimacy, time spent together, good finances, arguments with a positive outcome, physical health, understanding, tolerance, and progress with your goals as an individual and as a couple. All this results in an environment/relationship that you enjoy being in and wanting to stay.

The same applies to work so don't come with the pizza Friday and the slogan from the CHRO "I just want my people to be happy" because this approach is actively causing the unhappiness of your highest performers and as a result financial loss for the company because they will leave.

Maybe it is time to crack down on your low-performers for the good of everyone.

The other day I went to see a company to discuss leadership development. A team of six from HR met me and I listened to them. Happy as they ever could be, saying "This place is really chilled, my manager is great, we are really like a family." And they were. Meanwhile, they haven't got the basics implemented for their people. When I came out I told the managing director (my friend) that I would fire them all on the spot based on the lack of anything in the department despite them being in their roles for more than five years. I think if they were competent they could have implemented things during this time. My friend looked at me saying "I cannot fire an entire HR team" I said, "Of course you can."

Which areas do you need to work on? Well, it is not the engagement one for sure. Here it is and let us know if you need help and are ready to do things differently just like progressive companies are doing. Secret: they have moved on from the engagement nonsense. Wink Wink!

If you want us to help you check out this article and our framework so you can start being strategic about the changes you want to see. FRAMEWORK

PS: I also believe that by nature, high-performers will always score lower on engagement surveys because they are never satisfied. That's why I keep saying that an engagement survey is the wrong way to look at organisations!

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