Skip to content

Low Engagement Calls for New Management Practices

​“The very practice of management no longer works,” said Jim Clifton, the chairman and CEO of Gallup, Inc. “The old ways—annual reviews, forced rankings, outdated competencies—no longer achieve the intended results.”

Clifton’s stark comments open his CEO’s message in the latest edition of Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, released earlier this year.

The report offers a look at management practices and their ramifications in the U.S. workplace, based on the fortress of data that Gallup maintains: nearly 200,000 U.S. employees participating in Gallup’s various panels and polls, and the more than 31 million respondents included in Gallup’s client database.

Amid all this data is a finding Clifton points to as evidence of the failure of current management practices: more than half of U.S. employees—51 percent—are not engaged at work. Only one-third are engaged.

“These figures indicate an American leadership philosophy that simply doesn’t work anymore,” Clifton said in the report.

Gallup’s findings are “absolutely true to the bone” when it comes to the security industry, said Bill Cottringer, a veteran security manager, author, and president of Puget Sound Security in the greater Seattle area.

In an interview with the Show Daily, Cottringer spoke of the “radically changing values” of security employees, in particular younger employees, in recent years. “Employers have to adapt to the newer values of work-life balance, virtual offices, more meaningful and engaging work, and learning opportunities,” he said.

“We in management have to do a major upgrade in our own tool boxes to be able to have credibility in attracting and keeping quality employees who do expect more from their employers today, especially in making security jobs much less limiting, starting with expanding job descriptions,” he continued.

In many cases, security managers can work with the shifting values of their employees with a shift of their own—replacing the traditional command-and-control management system with two-way management, which emphasizes listening to, learning about, and assimilating ideas from employees.

It also leads to a greater professional understanding of employees’ capabilities and concerns, he explained, which goes a long way toward retaining talent.

And retaining talent has never been more important because only 21 percent of employees say that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work—a warning sign for managers looking to retain talent.

“Employees feel rather indifferent about their job and the work they are being asked to do,” the report says. “Organizations are not giving them compelling reasons to stay.”

Again, these findings are also consistent with the current situation in the security field, Cottringer said. More than ever, security employees are willing to leave a job that does not live up to their high expectations. “Getting and keeping quality personnel in security is almost as fierce as in the technology marketplace,” Cottringer said.