Clocked In but Checked Out

According to a recent HBR article, LinkedIn has indicated that 25% of its 313 million members are active job seekers, while an additional 60% could be described as passive job seekers i.e. people who are not actively looking for a new job but who are seriously interested in new job opportunities. If we are willing to accept that LinkedIn members are representative of the broader pool of professional workers, then as many as 85% of that population may be dissatisfied with their current employment albeit not sufficiently so to actually do something about it.

So, what does this mean for Public Sector workers in the Caribbean and the people who lead them? Well, as the adage goes When your neighbor house on fire, wet yours!

There are a few pointers that can help leaders determine if their staff members are with them based on a genuine desire to be a part of the team or whether they’re just hanging in there because they’re averse to change  i.e. that they’ve physically checked in for duty but are actually emotionally clocked out.


  1. How confident are you that your employees are intellectually stimulated by the work they’re doing If your employees are not learning on the job, there is a higher risk of disengagement.
  2. Is the particular employee under-performing? While poor performance may be due to a lack of knowledge or skills, it could also be a tangible sign that the employee is simply bored.
  3. Have you heard rumblings that your employees feel that you (or the bigger boss) don’t appreciate them or the contributions they make? I hasten to point out that this isn’t necessarily a matter of what they’re paid but rather the little and not so little ? things that leaders can and should do to show how much they value their people.
  4. Is there evidence that your employees lack intrinsic motivation? In other words, do you get the sense that your employees are doing work which doesn’t feed their souls? Work that doesn’t motivate them to jump out of bed in the morning knowing that during the course of the workday, they’ll be making a contribution to something that is bigger than them or your Department/Ministry
  5. The final pointer might be harder for you to accept. Do you get the sense that one or more of your staff really dislike you? Sometimes it’s not the job which employees dislike; it’s actually the boss! In the previously referenced HBR article, it was asserted that 75% of working adults find that the most stressful part of their job is their immediate supervisor or direct line manager.

I encourage you to take a moment and think about the members of your team. Is there anyone who is manifesting one or more of these five pointers? As a leader, how can you ignite (or rekindle) the flame of passion in order to ensure that such employees remain on board  not out of a fear of change but rather out of a sincere feeling of engagement and passion for the contribution that they’re making to the team.

1] CEO of Hogan Assessment Systems, Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and faculty member at Columbia University

(First published on

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