Performance Management Blog

That Damn Un-Engagement Thing…

That damn unengagement thing keeps happening, over and over. And I think collaboration is a key to impacting this reality.

Employee disengagement is high, with studies showing only 32% of workers actively engaged in their jobs and 17% are actively disengaged (translate to unhappy and potentially disruptive) [Gallup].

Badly, this aligns with “quiet quitting,” where employees prioritize meeting basic job requirements over going above and beyond, doing the minimally acceptable level of performance to keep their jobs and salaries. 

Maybe 60% of the global workforce are “quiet quitters” [Investopedia]. This means a significant portion of YOUR employees are doing the minimum required at work, lacking the motivation or engagement to put in extra effort.

These statistics highlight a real in worker priorities, possibly due to factors like burnout, work-life balance struggles, or feeling undervalued. And, in my beliefs, a big causal factor in this is competition.

Much of their work is about competing with others within their work group for recognition and pay. The normal appraisal system is anchored to competition. Promotions are anchored to competition. Daily or weekly recognition is about who succeeds. And this constant focus on success and winning may be the biggest long-term driver or de-motivation and disengagement.

Here is a paradox: 

If you are reading this, you are probably one of the winners.

That is just simple logic. YOU care. And understanding why others don’t is puzzling. There are lots of Blame Frames for this and you can point to the company’s policies or HR or hiring or pay or any number of factors. Yet SOME people, like you, are pretty engaged.

Maybe that is because you often win. Put the “Loser Shoes” on and see how you feel…

If day after day, process after process, team building game after team building game, you are generally a loser and seldom a winner, that gets very old. Dunning-Kruger Effect suggests that you overestimate what you can do until you see the actual results. So, eventually, you simply give up and align your beliefs and behavior to “the disengagement thing.”

My thought is that this starts in school, with competive grades and standardized exams and simply carries over to the workplace.

The solution? Do team building exercises where the outcome is collaboration between teams and where every team contributes to the overall results. 

I suggest you check out The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gols Mine, which we have been using to focus on people and performance, engagement and collaboration, and leadership for the past 30 years.

If we keep doing things the same way, we can expect to generate the same results. Maybe choose to do something differently, have some fun, and discuss some possibilities for improvement in an engaging and participative debriefing,


For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman, designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game.Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools.
Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who is trying to retire!! He now lives in Cuenca, Ecuador.

You can reach Scott at
Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Here is a link to a press release about The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine teambuilding exercise and its 30 years of positively impacting people and performance.

The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is a trademark of Performance Management Company

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of the amazing Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game and the Square Wheels facilitation and engagement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced global presenter. -- You can reach Scott at and a detailed profile is here: -- Scott is the original designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game and the Square Wheels® images for organizational development.

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