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Margaret, great post and observation!

What's frightening to me is the long term, insidious impact on overall productivity levels in our country due to a workforce that has essentially checked out.

Most economists do not see a quick rebound in the economy anytime soon. A few are suggesting that the economy will not return to "former levels" for up to five years!

Mobility for the severely disgruntled will be limited, the end result being that many workplaces will be housing disengaged, unhappy employees who are not giving their best on a daily basis. Just what we need to compete effectively in the global marketplace!

Robert Edward Cenek

Robert, I hope you have taken a look at Ann Bares Compensation Force blog today, to see the numbers of employees who are ready for a new job. I share your concern about the challenges to our competitive abilities.
Right now, it seems like business leaders are "sub-optimizing" the efforts put into employee relationships with the mistaken belief that nothing can help. That's fatigue talking, just when the business (inc. the employees) needs leadership.

Terrific post. You are precisely correct when you relate the tragedy of management thinking they can ignore the survey results because they are "standard." How sad. Yes, repeated layoffs are demoralizing. But it's the lack of COMMUNICATION that feeds most into the demoralization, not the act itself.

Also, Gallup's excellent recent research on engagement found one simple factor – direct manager style – can profoundly impact employee engagement. To summarize:

• Managers who focus on employee strengths have 61% engaged employees and 1% actively disengaged

• Managers who focus on employee weaknesses have 45% engaged employees and 22% actively disengaged

• Managers who ignore their employees have 2% engaged employees and 40% actively disengaged

More on this particular research is available here: http://globoforce.blogspot.com/2009/11/strengths-weaknesses-ignored-how-are.html

Derek, thanks so much for sharing solid data. We all need to spread this around, and get it to the execs. Other recent data from Watson Wyatt indicates that companies are cutting back on communications about the business (commitment down from 48% to 28%), pay (commitment down from 33% to 19) and benefits (30% commitment holding around 27%).

I think we'd both say -- how much does it actually cost to communicate with each other and how much does your revenue suffer when you don't. (There's even more telling research on that from Watson Wyatt.

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