Daniel Debow

Three ways to boost commitment at work

March 3, 2011: 1:37 PM ET

The average worker seems to be sleepwalking their way through their jobs, according to the latest employee engagement surveys. Here are three mostly free tactics to give your team a boost.

By Daniel Debow, contributor

While the U.S. economy recovers, the average worker seems to have lost a sense of meaning at work. They're disengaged -- and that disengagement is costing companies big money. According to a 2010 employee engagement study by Gallup, "disengaged employees erode an organization's bottom line, while breaking the spirits of colleagues in the process. Within the U.S. workforce, Gallup estimates this cost to the bottom line to be more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone." Ouch.

More importantly, that's a lot of people who are sleepwalking through the activity that takes up the majority of their lives: their job. And it's quite clear that throwing money at employees is not the answer. As Daniel Pink explains in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, it's "not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine-to-five. It's whether our work fulfills us."

I run a tech startup. Startups are known for their employee engagement practices. We have to be good at it. They might seem glamorous in movies like The Social Network, where Mark Zuckerberg goes from Harvard dorm to executive boardroom in 90 minutes of screen time. Working at a tech startup translates to years of long hours, below-market salaries, and the nagging fear that all of your friends are on the Facebook rocket while you've picked the MySpace horse and buggy. More

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