The 2013 State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement report from Gallup Inc. indicates that about 30 percent of the country's workers are "engaged" in their work, which is up from 26 percent in 2000.
The report looked at the American workplace from 2010 through 2012 to gain insight into what business leaders can do to improve employee engagement and performance.
Other report findings include: Engaged workers have higher productivity and profitability, and less turnover and absenteeism than those in the bottom 20 percent. Gallup estimated that "actively disengaged" workers cost the United States between $450 billion and $550 billion per year.
Gallup defined an "engaged" worker as someone who works with passion and has a connection with his or her company. A "not engaged" worker is described as someone who is “checked out,” and puts time but no energy into their work.
Actively disengaged employees are considered workers who aren’t happy and undermine their co-workers on a daily basis.
The report found that 31 percent of teachers are engaged, 56 percent are not engaged and 15 percent are actively disengaged.
Scott Grimes, assistant superintendent of human services for the Grand Haven school district, said it’s difficult to measure engagement in the education profession, but the school system has many accountability measures to demonstrate how engaged staff is in their jobs.
Grimes said administrators observe teachers several times throughout the school year, and the district looks at student growth data to continue helping students become more proficient.
“It's hard to imagine a teacher not engaged due to the nature of the job, which includes a great deal of emotion and the high-stakes nature of teaching,” he said.
Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton said the Gallup workplace results are the opposite of everything he has experienced through having worked in five school systems as a teacher and administrator. He said teaching is a big part of who teachers are, and that doesn’t stop during summer months.
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