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Wait…What?!?!? Employee Engagement Programs Don’t Work?

Posted on: May 10th, 2013 | Category: Employee Relations, HR DirectLink Service, HR Training Programs, Human Resources, Our Blog, Talent Management

Hold on a minute! What is up with this Harvard Business Review blog post? It cites new research that suggests that sometimes the most engaged employees in your organization are your worst performers. And some of the least engaged are your highest performers. That flies in the face of other studies out there that say the complete opposite, including this recent one by Gallup.

So what’s the deal, HBR? Per the blog post, the study (that match engagement survey and performance appraisal data for 207 organizations) reported that in 42% of high performers were less engaged than low performers. While on the surface this might not seem like much to worry about, the blog goes on to caution:

need help with difficult conversations with employees?

“We had seen plenty of cases where managers avoid dealing with low performers (because they believe the conversation will be difficult), and instead assign work to the employees they enjoy—i.e. high performers…as a result, they end up ‘burning out’ those same high performers they enjoy so much.”

That is a big deal. But does it mean that employee engagement is not worth the effort?

employee engagement...is it worth it?“Absolutely not,” says Tina Hamilton, PHR, our president and CEO. “It does mean that choosing the right type of employee engagement programs and having a reliable means of tracking their effectiveness is essential. You also can’t skimp on monitoring performance no matter what you think of your programs. If you are not doing these things, you could very well be throwing money and talent away.”

Hamilton suggests doing your homework on your in-house talent before you begin any form of reward or engagement efforts. “We use Extended DISC® Assessment and other tools to clearly define what our clients are working with and how best to tap employee productivity,” she says. “Finding strengths and understanding work styles is essential.”

Knowing the types of people you have on staff goes a long way, too. Not all people need or want high levels of engagement at work, and those that do seem to relish it may still not perform at the levels or in the ways you want. The bottom line, according to Hamilton, is that there is no one-size-fits-all packaging for successful employee engagement programs.

hireVision’s HR DirectLink services are targeted to help companies provide more of what employees want and need to do their best work, including employee retention and support needs. It’s a customized HR service so integrated into your environment that you’ll think we’re sitting in the office next door!

Interested in learning more about motivating your talent to meet your company’s goals? Email us, or call us at 610-443-0119 to discuss how hireVision’s HR Partnering Services can help.

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