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Forget Employee Engagement; U.S. Companies Need Passionate Workers

Forget Employee Engagement; U.S. Companies Need Passionate Workers
Photograph by Nick M. Do/Getty Images

If you look at surveys designed to measure how happy U.S. workers are (the HR euphemism is “employee engagement”), the numbers are downright discouraging. A recent Gallup survey pegs just 30 percent of the U.S. workforce as “inspired” by their work.

John Hagel believes employee engagement as a workforce metric is short-sighted, a remnant of 20th century management thinking rooted in outdated notions about scalability and efficiency. Instead, today’s intensifying competitive pressures and fast-moving global markets, he says, require that 21st century organizations need employees who are not simply engaged, but passionate about their work.