In 42% of companies, those who are working in the office report themselves to be highly engaged.
The only problem with this is that the high performers may already have left, and middle performers follow soon after. Those who remain are the happy underperformers.
In a recent report on their research, Leadership IQ confirmed a concept we’ve talked about a couple of times before (here, and here). “Evaporative cooling” is a condition in which the top performers in an organization, frustrated with the lack of accountability there, leave because their achievement is being diluted by the low performance of others. The middle performers, realizing that their status has declined by the departure of the high performers, pack up and leave, as well. Pretty soon, the only ones who are left are the clueless.
The study illuminates significant misdirection that can come from conventional surveys about organizational performance using concepts such as “engagement” and ranking “great places to work.” The low performers in the study not only reported that they were highly engaged, but also reported that their companies were great places to work. Sitting in a cushy job without much expectation for higher achievements, low performers dig in and love their companies.
“Think about that for a moment,” the authors say. “The employees bringing you the least value are often more engaged than the folks who reliably deliver good and great performance.”