I was listening to Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Primuzic’s talk last evening on the Art of Talent and was struck by the statistics on employee engagement. In 2014, studies by Gallup showed that 51% of employees were disengaged (Adkins, 2015).
This article also mentioned that the highest rate of engagement was at the managerial level. Reading that, I had to ask, why are the managers engaged? What is it that they are not doing to support the proper commitment from those that report to them?
From a Dale Carnegie report, it appeared that there were three things that drove employee engagement. They are: the perceived relationship with their managers, belief in senior leadership, and pride in working for the company (Dale Carnegie, 2016).
If the two top reasons given were the relationship with their managers and belief in senior leadership then we need to consider where leaders are failing. Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic made mention of a steady uptick in spending on leadership training but a sad downturn in actual belief in leadership. So what are we to do?
Do we need more testing in order to understand whether or not the people we are promoting are good managers or do we need to pay more attention to HOW we are training the leaders we have chosen? OR better yet, do we have to have a better grasp on measuring talent? Likability, actual ability, and willingness to work are the three factors that measure talent. While each aspect, depending on the job, should have somewhat equal weight, how does your agency weigh these characteristics?
If we lean too heavily on likability as a reason for promotion and find justifications in actual ability and willingness to work as less than secondary motives, then human resources needs to take a good hard look at what is happening in the organization in order to create one that is not only fair but also one that creates an environment of engagement for not just a few but for (almost) all.
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Adkins, A. (2015, January 28). Majority of U.S. Employees Not Engaged Despite Gains in 2014. Retrieved May 11, 2016, from Gallup.com: http://www.gallup.com/poll/181289/majority-employees-not-engaged-despite-gains-2014.aspx
Dale Carnegie. (2016). Importance of Employee Engagement. Retrieved from dalecarnegie.com: http://www.dalecarnegie.com/employee-engagement/engaged-employees-infographic/