If you’re not getting red curve performance in your organization, you may be interested in the results of a recent study by Towers Perrin.

Towers Perrin is an HR services firm. In May and June of 2007, they conducted a study that they called the “Global Workforce Study.”

The study surveyed 88,612 respondents, from comapanies around the world. 42,486, or about half, were from the United States.

The greatest number of respondents were individuals aged 25 – 34 (29,430 respondents), while those individuals aged 35 – 44 were the second largest group, at 24,528 respondents.

I did not find the results to be surprising and doubt that they will be a surprise to you.

Only 21% of the respondents claimed to be “fully engaged” in their work. 41% claimed to be “enrolled”, which means only partly engaged. And about 38% of those responding said they were either disenchanted (30%) or totally disengaged (8%) from their work.

From this it seems that only about 1 in 5 workers is fully engaged in their work. The rest are not connected emotionally to the work. They may show up and get their assigned work done, but they won’t be going the extra mile for the organization anytime soon.

One discussion we could have is whether this level of engagement is acceptable.

A separate question, and one that might drive the former, is whether this level of engagement is inevitable. After all, if we were to conclude that we can’t do anything to improve the situation, we’d have no choice but to accept it. Correct?

We can take concrete actions to improve the level engagement in our organizations. Call me a dreamer, but over time, I think most organizations can go from the kind of engagement levels reported here (1 in 5) to levels of 3 in 5 and maybe even 4 in 5.

Now, if such a change was possible, what kind of performance impact would you expect it to have on your organization? Especially if you could apply this new found level of passion to the problems that are, today, most limiting the success of your organization?

In the near future, I will be writing about rule clashes, and how one of the devastating effects of such clashes is to cause people to become disconnected from the mission of the organization.