The recent WSJ.com article “More Workers Start to Quit” states that “in February the number of employees voluntarily quitting surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

The article also indicates that the number of employees quitting could continue to grow in the coming months.   Apparently, people were waiting to see more jobs show up as possibilities before they made a move.  Makes sense.  In fact, 60% of workers said they intended to leave their jobs when the market got better – according to Right Management 2009.

The question is – why are they leaving their jobs?  Sometimes money or life choice is a factor, but more often than not it’s due to their lack of engagement.  Most studies suggest that less than 25% of employees are engaged in their work.

Since my work as an executive and career coach is very tied to creating work that brings you passion and fulfillment, many people I meet share their lack of happiness and engagement at the office.  It’s rare to find someone who’s thrilled with their work/role and is surrounded by a team or organization that feels the same way.  Another thing I notice is that then the conversation often leads to the statement “and no one seems to care or be doing anything about it”.

While that may be true depending on your organization, this is also an opportunity for you to take action yourself. “More Workers Start to Quit” ends the article by stating that if most people found another opportunity, “More than 57% of the 1,273 surveyed said nothing could persuade them to stay”.  But isn’t it too late at that point?  If they’re looking, they’ve probably been unhappy.

Why let it get to that point for yourself or others? What can you start doing today?

I hate to be a bit cliche but isn’t it a also about the journey and not just the destination.   As the workforce continues to change rapidly and the average amount of time an employee is at a given firm continues to decrease,  shouldn’t we look at the bright side and be asking ourselves “what can I be doing to engage myself and my team right here and right now?”  If we have  limited time to work with or manage someone, why not focus on what we can do right now to make it the best experience possible?  It’s our choice to act.

Happy and engaged people stay at companies longer and make better employees.  Overall they are more productive, more creative and ultimately contribute to more profitable gains.  Managers have a big impact on the well-being and engagement of their team members.  On an organizational level, positive cultures have been linked to retention and reducing turnover costs.  So happiness ultimately contributes to success.

What’s just one thing that you can try tomorrow to create more engagement in your work or the work of others?