Engaging high potential employees – it’s not as simple as it sounds

Posted by Lewis Garrad on Wed, Jan 25, 2017

6pf6daiwz48-rayi-christian-wicaksono.jpgCoaching high potential employees to find impact, challenge and meaningful relationships at work can help create stronger motivation, commitment, and retention.

If identifying high potential employees is the most important talent management challenge that companies face, it’s arguable that creating a compelling career for high potentials comes in at a close second. With so many dollars spent on programs to develop leadership succession and capability, it’s important to get a good return on your investment. Keeping top talent learning, motivated, and committed is critical to doing that. 

Many organizations understand this but the basic assumption seems to be that the expanded opportunities afforded to someone who has been identified as top talent should be enough – this most often includes increased access to senior leaders, special projects, and extra training. However, with so much passive job seeking these days (thanks to sites like LinkedIn) and an increasingly diverse workforce to deal with, leaders often find that their programs are not helping to create the “stickiness” they need. Indeed, in Sirota's own projects we find that top talent is rarely more positive about their organization than the average employee.

So how can programs be designed to boost success? Once the science of talent and personality assessments help you make good decisions about what candidates to pick, the science of engagement should help you to get them to stay. Here are three key issues that you should consider:

  • Give them the right feedback. Tagging someone as top talent usually means directing more investment and attention to them. This can be a double-edged sword as colleagues can notice the imbalance of resources that are being used for their development. Highly confident and ambitious characters, who get themselves noticed easily, might even start to act in more self-centered and entitled ways. As the fascinating research into toxic employees shows, there’s no point having a superstar if they suck performance from other members of their team. Although it’s tempting to want top talent to feel they are special, it’s rarely helpful if they start to act like it. If you want your high potentials to have productive careers then they need to learn how to get along with others, as well as get ahead in their jobs. That means ensuring they get feedback to understand the impact they have on colleagues and providing coaching to help them adapt to it. The benefit of this is that it will help to strengthen the relationships they form at work, boosting their sense of belonging.
  • Challenge them in the right way. Many high potentials are given special assignments to stretch them into new areas. This can be a great way to engage them with impactful and challenging projects. However, there is some nuance to this and research shows that while some work demands actually help to boost motivation and focus (challenges - like complex problem solving or tight deadlines), others are draining and exhausting no matter what (barriers to performance - like interpersonal conflict or highly ambiguous goals, leading to uncertainty). In a recent survey, many high potentials also said they feel significant additional pressure to get things right more often. We should remember that burnout and exhaustion is a substantial risk for high potential employees who ambitiously pursue the extra projects that they are given, while at the same time being exposed to the watchful eye of senior leaders who are constantly judging their performance. Ensuring that development programs and projects are built around the balance of resources and demands facing the participants is an important part of keeping them engaged. And remember, just because someone is able to handle a tremendous amount of pressure, that doesn’t mean they are always a good fit for more senior roles – particularly if they need to be able to empathize with overwhelmed subordinates.
  • Meaning and purpose. Although it has become rather cliché to talk about the importance of meaning and impact in the workplace, there should be no doubt that it makes a difference. People will often use the pursuit of higher-level purpose or vision to buffer against the shorter-term impact of stressful or boring work on their motivation. So, while many high potential programs might emphasize the increased influence, development, and even reward that high potentials have access to, it’s important that a clear connection is also made to achieving a broader career impact and purpose. This means ensuring that leaders and managers understand that their role in developing top talent isn’t only to talk to them about their performance, but also to help them think through their development toward their broader career goals.

While the additional investment that high potential employees receive is a privilege, the market for talented individuals means that competition is fierce. Helping high potentials to design their careers in a way that brings stronger impact, rewarding challenges, and better relationships can help boost engagement and retention.

To learn more about how the personality of high potential employees influences engagement of team members, check out The Engaging Leader.

Lewis Garrad, a chartered organizational psychologist, is the Growth Markets leader at Mercer|Sirota. He specializes in the design and deployment of employee attitude research programs, feedback interventions, and talent strategy. Follow him on Twitter.

Topics: leadership, high potential leaders, talent management, engagement, high potential, high potential employees, high potentials, high potential program, talent

To boost engagement, leaders must learn to behave better

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Thu, Mar 24, 2016

To engage employees effectively, businesses need to understand what makes them tick, and to boost leaders’ emotional intelligence, says Professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic




Scientific data clearly indicate that employee engagement drives organisational profitability; nonetheless, only a minority of employees in most organizations are engaged. Indeed, the evidence suggests that disengagement is not just the norm, but a worldwide epidemic.

Global surveys show that many employees dislike their jobs (Pfeffer, 2016). LinkedIn and other recruitment firms estimate that 70% of the workforce consist of passive jobseekers – people who are not actively looking for jobs, yet still hopeful for better alternatives. In the realm of relationships this would equate to 70% of married people being open to replacing their spouse. Moreover, even in economies with low unemployment such as the UK, many people are ditching traditional employment to start their own business. And while an increase in entrepreneurial activity has collective benefits, most start-ups fail, and the majority of people who switch from traditional to self-employment end up working more to earn less.

Clearly, then, disengagement is a problem, but why are so many employees disengaged? Scientific studies highlight two main reasons. First, organizations don’t understand what people really want from work; second, a substantial proportion of existing managers are incompetent leaders.

What people want from work

David Sirota, a pioneer of engagement research, notes that employees hope to fulfil three major needs at work. The first is a need for achievement—satisfied when people are given important and challenging work, and their work is recognised. The second is a need for camaraderie—met when people are able to build relationships and bond with others. The third is a need for equity—fulfilled when people think they are treated fairly.

It follows that employees will be more engaged if their accomplishments are valued by the organisation, if they can form meaningful relationships with their colleagues, and if the rules of conduct are transparent and enforced fairly. Conversely, if they feel unappreciated, isolated, or treated unfairly, they will become disengaged, alienated, and burned out.

While these needs are universal, different people may value some more than others, and these individual differences have salient career implications. For example, when employees value camaraderie over achievement, they will prioritise getting along over getting ahead. And when they care more about achievement than equity, they will tolerate unfairness as long as they can attain status.

Furthermore, the same needs may be expressed in different terms. Indeed, some people may fulfil their need for achievement through financial rewards, while other may define it in terms of recognition (e.g., promotions, publicity, and fancy job titles). Likewise, some employees may fulfil their need for camaraderie by helping their colleagues (expressing an altruistic need), whereas others may do this by partying with them (expressing a need for hedonism). Clearly, one size does not fit all — to motivate employees, organisations must learn to decode their individual values and needs at a granular level.

Incompetent leadership

Although leaders own the job of creating engaged employees, they are generally ill-prepared for the task. One reason is that the wrong people are often promote into leadership positions. Among wrong people are: those who perform well as individual contributors (because of their technical expertise) but lack the necessary people-skills to manage teams; people who are politically savvy and good at managing upwards, but too greedy to attend to their subordinates’ wellbeing; and people who are good at faking competence (i.e., seeming confident and/or taking credit for others’ achievements), but are actually talentless.

A second reason many leaders are unable to create engagement is that leadership development programmes tend to help those who need it the least: humble and self-critical leaders typically sign up for training and coaching sessions, while arrogant and self-deceived bullies are prisoners of their own self-belief.

Leading organisational psychologists, such as Robert Hogan, estimate that the baseline for managerial incompetence is at least 50%, and that may be a conservative estimate. One needs only to google “my boss is…”, “my manager is…”, or “my supervisor is…” and read the most popular auto-completion options to understand how most people regard their leaders. Unsurprisingly, research shows that most people quit their jobs because of their bosses, and that around 35% of the variability in team engagement levels can be attributed to leaders.

In order to fix their engagement problems, organisations should start by selecting and developing better leaders. Contrary to popular belief, the most engaging leaders are not confident and flamboyant (think Donald Trump); they are modest, self-aware, and empathic, meaning they have emotional intelligence. They fly under the radar while helping their teams perform; they are trustworthy and understand their limitations. In other words, the most engaging leaders are rather boring – think Angela Merkel or Tim Cook rather than Tony Blair or Steve Jobs.

More importantly, whatever their own value orientation, leaders must understand what motivates their employees. In line, to develop leaders largely requires enhancing their emotional intelligence so they can improve their ability to understand people.

At Hogan Assessments, we create scientifically defensible personality assessments to profile leaders and their teams. Our assessments don’t just predict performance – they also explain it. When leaders and teams go through them, they receive valuable information about their style, values, and limitations; this information can help leaders create engagement, and in turn, be more effective at work.

Over the past 30 years, we have assessed more than five million leaders and employees in more than 400 jobs and 50 countries. Our tools are used by 2/3 of Fortune 500 companies, as well as thousands of small businesses, to select and develop employees and leaders. You can think of us as the arms manufacturers in the war for talent: we create the “weapons” that help organisations attract the right people and develop their full potential, particularly by teaching them how to behave better.

 

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is a Professor of Business Psychology at University College London, CEO of Hogan Assessments, and a Visiting Professor at Columbia University

Pfeffer, J. (2016). Leadership BS: Fixing workplaces and careers one truth at the time. Harper Business.

As originally seen in Talent Management published by Raconteur Media on March 10, 2016 in The Times.

Topics: employee engagement, engagement

The Engaging Leader: How Do You Become One?

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Wed, Feb 24, 2016

Written by guest blogger Nick Starritt
Managing Director of Sirota, Europe, Middle East, Africa

Isn’t it curious how peoples’ engagement varies inside an organisation? Why do some teams become evidently more committed and productive than others? The graph below shows the distribution of team engagement (how people feel, think and act towards the company), across 500 teams inside a very large FMCG corporation, as measured by a consistent set of questions. Remember – this is the same company, with the same policies and procedures; the same overarching business strategy and the same set of values. 

Sirota1.png

In some teams, engagement levels could hardly be higher: 90% saying they feel proud to work for this company; that they would recommend it to friends as a place to work and that they willingly commit discretionary effort to help it succeed. Yet other teams can barely muster half that level of enthusiasm and commitment. Why is that? Our research(1) suggests that the biggest cause of the variance is down to a single source: the team’s manager. And let’s remember – multiple research studies have shown the strong and enduring relationship between engagement and how the organisation performs. So, building an engaged and committed workforce is the best way to drive organisational performance – and immediate managers have the biggest influence on employee engagement.

Most HR people understand this link. Many managers intuitively ‘get it’, too. So why do we hear that it’s so difficult to improve survey results? In part, the answer may lie in systemic issues which need to be fixed by senior management. For example, maybe decision making is slow because authority levels or risk assessment procedures are skewed inside a company. But we often find that individual managers lack an understanding of the effect their behaviour has on the team: they see the consequence via their survey results, but don’t know how to fix the issue.

If you take the case that exceptional performance is a function of exceptional leadership, then the job of each manager is to provide context, direction and guidance. They need to provide leadership which creates trust and sparks engagement. Knowing how to do these things requires several insights. You need to understand who you are, in terms of your own values and personality. Equally, you need to understand how you occur to your team, as a manager. And finally, you need to see the evidence for how engaged/disengaged that makes them feel, and how effective they are as a result. Over the past year, Sirota and Hogan Assessment have been studying the manager: team dynamic and have found a compelling pattern of correlations between manager personality and outcomes like team turnover (via analysis of voluntary exit data.)

From that initial research, the two companies joined forces to produce a unique instrument: The Engaging Leader Assessment & Report (www.theengagingleader.com). The tool combines the acclaimed Hogan personality profile, with Sirota’s team effectiveness and engagement questionnaire, and presents the manager with a clear data set, linking who they are and how they behave, with how the team feels.

For the first time, we can easily link personality and behaviour to engagement – to move beyond a classical 360 assessment into a more insightful instrument. The online tool enables HR, or other qualified coaches, to quickly set-up data-driven interventions with the manager and their team. In the coming weeks, we’ll show how various personality types affect engagement, and what interventions may be practical.

Meantime, if your organisation is looking for valid ways to help low-scoring managers move out of the bottom quartile of engagement, take a look at how this tool enables it.

Sirota2.png

In some teams, engagement levels could hardly be higher: 90% saying they feel proud to work for this company; that they would recommend it to friends as a place to work and that they willingly commit discretionary effort to help it succeed. Yet other teams can barely muster half that level of enthusiasm and commitment. Why is that? Our research1 suggests that the biggest cause of the variance is down to a single source: the team’s manager. And let’s remember – multiple research studies have shown the strong and enduring relationship between engagement and how the organisation performs. So, building an engaged and committed workforce is the best way to drive organisational performance – and immediate managers have the biggest influence on employee engagement.

Most HR people understand this link. Many managers intuitively ‘get it’, too. So why do we hear that it’s so difficult to improve survey results? In part, the answer may lie in systemic issues which need to be fixed by senior management. For example, maybe decision making is slow because authority levels or risk assessment procedures are skewed inside a company. But we often find that individual managers lack an understanding of the effect their behaviour has on the team: they see the consequence via their survey results, but don’t know how to fix the issue.

If you take the case that exceptional performance is a function of exceptional leadership, then the job of each manager is to provide context, direction and guidance. They need to provide leadership which creates trust and sparks engagement. Knowing how to do these things requires several insights. You need to understand who you are, in terms of your own values and personality. Equally, you need to understand how you occur to your team, as a manager. And finally, you need to see the evidence for how engaged/disengaged that makes them feel, and how effective they are as a result. Over the past year, Sirota and Hogan Assessment have been studying the manager: team dynamic and have found a compelling pattern of correlations between manager personality and outcomes like team turnover (via analysis of voluntary exit data.)

From that initial research, the two companies joined forces to produce a unique instrument: The Engaging Leader Assessment & Report (www.theengagingleader.com). The tool combines the acclaimed Hogan personality profile, with Sirota’s team effectiveness and engagement questionnaire, and presents the manager with a clear data set, linking who they are and how they behave, with how the team feels.

For the first time, we can easily link personality and behaviour to engagement – to move beyond a classical 360 assessment into a more insightful instrument. The online tool enables HR, or other qualified coaches, to quickly set-up data-driven interventions with the manager and their team. In the coming weeks, we’ll show how various personality types affect engagement, and what interventions may be practical.

Meantime, if your organisation is looking for valid ways to help low-scoring managers move out of the bottom quartile of engagement, take a look at how this tool enables it.

- See more at: http://www.sirota.com/blog/engaging-leader-how-do-you-become-one#sthash.OGYogDKR.dpuf

For further information, go to: www.theengagingleader.com

 

1)  Three Factor Theory of Human Motivation in the Workplace, or ACE Model (Sirota, Mischkind, & Meltzer, 2005). The Enthusiastic Employee – How companies profit by giving workers what they want  (Sirota and Klein, Pearson Business 2013)

 


 

Topics: employee engagement, engagement, engaging leader

The 4 Personality Traits Of Engaging Leaders

Posted by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Tue, Dec 15, 2015

Most people think of leadership as a vocation, but it's really a psychological process—namely, the process of influencing others to put aside their self-serving agendas and cooperate for the common good of a group. Companies are just bigger, more organized groups than those groups where our earliest ancestors first developed the psychological patterns we still live with today.

One reason leadership is so fundamental is because it transforms a collection of talented individuals into a coordinated team—but only if it's done in a way that actually helps the team perform well together. And since the secret to performance is engagement, it takes an engaging leader to make that happen.

Why Being Engaging Matters
Extensive psychological research shows that engagement is the key driver of individual performance—in other words, the degree to which employees think, feel, and act in ways that show their commitment to the organization. Engaged employees are energized, proud, enthusiastic, and have positive attitudes at work. Organizations whose employees are engaged show higher returns on assets, are more profitable, and yield nearly twice the value of their shareholders compared to companies characterized by low employee engagement.

On the flip side, disengaged employees underperform, get bored, and show counterproductive work behaviors, like wasting time online, not showing up, and burning out. It's been estimated that disengaged employees cost U.S. companies more than $450 billion each year.

Four Traits of Engaging Leaders
Clearly, engagement matters. But what do we know about engaging leaders? Although their style and expertise might vary, they tend to display some consistent personality characteristics. On average, they're more emotionally stable, ambitious, sociable, and interpersonally sensitive than others.

Emotional stability helps leaders stay cool under pressure so they can calm down their subordinates and keep everyone on track when things get tough.

Ambition helps leaders set challenging goals their teams need to reach for. That's especially important considering the reciprocal effects between engagement and performance. In other words, engaged employees perform better, but high-performing individuals will also be more engaged. It's either a virtuous circle or a vicious cycle depending on how well a leader leads.

Sociability helps leaders communicate with their teams, develop good networks, and put in the time it takes to nurture those relationships.

Interpersonal sensitivity causes leaders to focus more on others than on themselves. They're more altruistic and better attuned to their subordinates’ feelings.

Five Traits of Disengaging Leaders
Less effective leaders share traits that inspire disengagement in others. Being too excitable, cautious, leisurely, mischievous and attention-seeking can reduce your team's performance.

Excitability can cause disorder among employees due to a leader's erratic and unpredictable moods.

Caution is sometimes the prudent approach in certain situations, but overly cautious leaders can be frustrating because their risk-aversion makes them perpetuate the status quo even when things need to change.

Leisureliness causes leaders to be superficially polite and avoid conflict, but it can hold them back from offering constructive criticism. That, in turn, can create a passive-aggressive approach to management.

Mischievousness can occasionally be an asset as well. Clever leaders sometimes see opportunities others can't. In many cases, though, mischievous leaders appear charming to some, yet manipulative and dishonest to others. Their mixed reputations make them hard to trust.

Attention-seeking isn't usually the best trait in a leader, either. Those who want to focus more on themselves than their team members aren't likely to keep them engaged for long.

Beyond Personality
Of course, your personality doesn't determine your leadership style—only your leadership potential. The more traits you share with potentially disengaging leaders, the more effort it takes to overcome those tendencies. But you can still turn out to be a really effective leader.

As some studies have shown, it isn't just through their own behaviors that leaders impact team engagement. They can also do that by shaping their employees’ roles. When employees are starved for variety and autonomy, or when their tasks are trivial and seemingly purposeless, their engagement and performance can sink. It's up to leaders to offer regular feedback and guidance to counteract those things.

But it's a two-way street. Employees' own personalities determine how well they cope with lackluster work situations. The more conscientious and optimistic employees themselves can be, the better they'll tolerate both uninspiring jobs and bosses.

Getting More Engagement
Ultimately, every leader can make a deliberate effort to become more engaging through their own actions and dispositions. It starts simply with being aware of your tendencies so you can understand their impact on others.

Most leaders fail because they don't perceive well enough how others perceive their behaviors. That's why the bulk of executive coaching interventions try to reduce the negative effects of leaders’ personalities and dial up the behaviors that actually do engage their teams.

It's also important to craft meaningful and rewarding jobs for your teams, assigning everybody to the right role and ensuring the teammates know what you want them to achieve and why. If that doesn't work, your next best bet is simply to hire people who are happy by temperament. That might not sound like much of a leadership technique, but it still takes a savvy leader to understand how attitude can make a real difference. Happy employees are actually likely to stay engaged for longer, even if their productivity stays the same.

This article originally appeared in Fast Company.

Topics: leadership, employee engagement, engagement

The Engagement Epidemic: Why It Begins and Ends with Leadership

Posted by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Tue, Nov 10, 2015

The topic of employee engagement is ubiquitous in HR conversations from independent professionals to the C-suite. It’s no wonder that companies are taking note. Studies consistently show that employees work more efficiently, are less likely to leave their jobs, and more likely to take pride in their work and that of their company, when they are engaged. Engagement has also been linked to a number of important business outcomes, including higher levels of customer service, customer satisfaction, an environment of better collaboration and creativity, and fewer workplace accidents. Thus engagement is the best single diagnostic measure of an organization’s wellbeing and potential: engaged organizations are happy and likely to be productive; disengaged organizations need help.

Unfortunately, engagement is far from the work place norm. Surveys indicate that no less than 70% of the global workforce is either not engaged or actively disengaged. Although these data are often contested – it classifies people as “engaged” only if they agree with every statement of an engagement survey – it is based on organizations who actually bother asking their employees how they feel at work. Most companies in the world still don’t, so there is arguably a significant amount of selective sampling here: the most miserable employees in the world are probably not even included in these data!

In addition, it is estimated that 70% of the employed workforce in most developed economies consists of passive job seekers; that is, people who are not actively looking for a job but passively waiting for an offer or opportunities. For example, LinkedIn estimates that 2/3 of its 350 million members are passive job seekers. And, self-employment and start-up activity rates have been increasing for over a decade. In the US alone, by 2020, 40% of the workforce will be self-employed. Although people enter self-employment and launch their own business for many different reasons, there is a common cause that determines most of these decisions over and over again: the desire to be your own boss, or, rather, the desire to avoid working for someone else. Bad leadership, then, is the most common cause for the disengagement epidemic.

Where’s the disconnect?
Engagement is not merely about making employees happier at work; it is about bringing out the best in people and tapping their full potential on a day-to-day basis. As managers, we are often unaware of our disengaging behaviors. A leader’s personality and values have tremendous impact on an individual’s ability to meet three basic psychological needs:

  • The need to have good relationships with others. Good leaders foster teamwork, friendship, and collaboration through modeling healthy conflict and good relationships; inept leaders tend to divide and isolate employees through manipulation, micromanaging, or command-and-control leadership.
  • The desire to be successful. Good leaders promote employee contributions and champion their successes; they are seen as fair and clearly set out the rules of the game for every team member. In contrast, bad leaders blame their employees for their own failures and compete with them, often by taking credit for others’ accomplishments.
  • The desire to find meaning, both in work and life. Good leaders provide their subordinates with a clear sense of purpose and a meaningful mission. Through a clear mission, they explain to subordinates why their work and the long-term strategy of the organization matter. Conversely, bad leaders alienate employees by depriving them from meaning.

Take a look in the mirror
While the overall strategy to drive employee engagement may vary by organization, the discussion must always begin and end with leadership. HR departments rely on annual survey results while looking for exciting ways to enhance employee happiness. Lavish amenities are thrown at employees. But these efforts are moot without an understanding of one of the best ways to improve employee engagement: by taking a look in the mirror.

Leadership and effective management are crucial to employee engagement. Indeed, our data indicates that around 20-30% of the variance in employee engagement can be attributed to factors directly related to leadership, particularly employees’ direct line manager. Great leaders engage followers and harness their energy to perform to their highest ability. They create synergies and turn average individual players into an A-team. Who you are (your personality), determines how you behave, the decisions you make, and the culture you instill, and these three consequences of your character will have a substantial impact on your team’s performance and morale.

If you are a leader, ask yourself the following questions: Do you set goals and establish clarity? Do you create effective team processes? What sort of climate are you creating? Is there a clear alignment between what you say and what you do? Do you provide employees with critical, but constructive, feedback? Do you push your team to perform to the highest possible level? Finally, do you know what your team’s mindset is right now?

The extra mile
When people are engaged, they find meaning at work and are proud of what they do; they are willing to go the extra mile and work beyond their formal roles or responsibilities. The bottom line is that leadership creates engagement, higher employee engagement equals better organizational performance, and lower employee engagement equals worse organizational performance. Thus, engagement is the ultimate metric for evaluating leadership effectiveness.

This article originally appeared in HR Examiner.

Topics: employee engagement, engagement

Corporate Culture and the Impact on Employee Engagement

Posted by Cheryl Oxley on Mon, Mar 25, 2013

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a focus around corporate culture in many of my typical news sources – Fast Company, Fortune, Talent Management Magazine, and Harvard Business Review’s Blog. I’m sure the recent changes in Yahoo’s and Best Buy’s corporate work-from-home policies sparked the heated debates around corporate culture. Many of the discussions center around the impact these culture changes may have on the employees’ engagement, satisfaction, and overall commitment to the company. As covered in the New York Times, Yahoo explained the workplace policy change was made in an effort to boost employee morale. I’m not here to discuss whether this type of culture change was right or wrong, as I believe an argument for both is easily found in the media already.

However, it does have me thinking about how corporate culture affects employee engagement in general. A Gallup poll showed that more than 71% of Americans aren’t engaged in their jobs. We at Hogan believe this is more often a result of failed leadership or a bad boss, which Ryan Ross explains in an article by Adrienne Hedger and Dr. Robert Hogan discusses in “Why Engagement Matters.” I would argue that employee engagement is connected to organizational culture as well.

Perhaps the high rate of employee disengagement is a result of shifting views of how work environments should be structured. Companies are attempting to mitigate low employee engagement by creating a unique environment. We’re seeing examples of how top performing companies, especially those on the Fortune's “Best Places To Work” list, create a culture where employees want to be at work. Casual dress codes, free food, on-site gyms, ping-pong tables, pet-friendly policies, and many other non-traditional benefits are found in these types of cultures. Not surprisingly, Google is ranked as the #1 Best Place to Work by Forbes.

Of course, not all companies can provide what Google does in terms of free benefits. Fortunately, people want to work at places like Google for reasons besides the free food and rooms full of Legos. Fast Company’s recent article highlights how Google deliberately designs workplace satisfaction, not just around incredible perks, but also by creating a corporate culture that provides freedom, mutual respect, and transparency for all employees. According to the article, Google empowers its employees to have a say in topics ranging from how the company is run to the new design of its company-provided bicycles. This underlying philosophy of empowerment and transparency is the most attractive aspect of corporate culture, and the easiest to emulate.

As more companies begin to make the shift to a flat organizational structure, I bet employee engagement rates will also increase. Only time will tell.

Topics: leadership, engagement, culture

3 Ways to Brand for Engagement

Posted by Eva Manole on Tue, Jan 22, 2013

BrandingTalk of personal branding on social platforms is rampant. Rarely, however is there mention of how a personal brand can affect engagement at work.

Employee engagement refers to the rational and emotional commitment one has to various aspects associated with the organization where he or she works. An employee’s commitment level translates into discretionary effort and intent to stay, which both affect organizational performance. Additionally, employee engagement is associated with job commitment, lack of burnout and well being. As Dr. Robert Hogan attests, “when employees are engaged, they like their jobs, they work hard at their jobs, they take initiative, and they show loyalty.”

When you brand yourself effectively within a company culture, co-workers and supervisors will have a clearer and more concise understanding of what it takes for you to be successful. Accurately projecting who you are to others will give them the necessary information to help you along the way. Even if they're well-intentioned, peers and supervisors cannot contribute to your engagement or success if they do not have a clear picture of your personality traits and motives. 

How can one take control of one’s personal brand and intentionally portray it favorably every day? It all starts with self-knowledge, which is a basic necessity to building your personal brand. Managing your reputation within an organization can only arise from strategic self-awareness.

Here are 3 ways to accurately define and project your personal brand at work.

Define it Simply

Identify what your three core brand attributes are. You should be able to fit them on a Post-it. Start by collecting feedback on how co-workers describe you, your strengths, your development opportunities and some of your top drivers.

Convey it Clearly

Project yourself in a concise manner. Mixed messages will confuse others. Focus on sending out a clear message of how you like to get things done, what makes you get those things done and why you do the things you do in a compact way.

Project it Confidently

Establish yourself as an expert in a relevant field. Once you show competence, you can more easily create a confident presence and build credibility. Become a good source of knowledge for others in a specific area and take control of disseminating that information. By sharing your expertise others will become more aware of what engages you.

If you are not feeling engaged at work, consider what image you are projecting to others.  Sharply defining your personal brand could be a step in the right direction.

 

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Topics: employee engagement, engagement, culture

The Perfect Job

Posted by Hogan News on Fri, Jan 18, 2013

What makes a great job? Is it better benefits, flexible hours, or the promise of promotion? Maybe it’s all about the money. Hogan asked nearly 1,000 professionals to tell us about their ideal job. Here’s what they said.

Perfect Job

Topics: engagement, perfect job

Sorry to Be a Buzzkill

Posted by Hogan News on Tue, Jan 08, 2013

Buzzkill

The HR world is already atwitter with a brand new batch of buzzwords. But wait! Here are five of last year’s biggest buzzwords that will still matter in 2013. 

LEADERSHIP
“To me, there is only one talent management issue, and it never changes: leadership. What also never changes is the fact that businesses don’t understand this, which is why they put so many self-serving assholes in leadership positions.”  - Dr. Robert Hogan

After what seemed like a never-ending election cycle, the last thing anyone wants to keep talking about is leadership. But it’s something we can’t afford to ignore. Competent leadership is crucial for a company to succeed. Yet, research indicates that two-thirds of the leaders in corporate America will fail. Why? Check out this free ebook to find out.  

GAME CHANGERS
At any given organization, 20% of employees account for 80% of productivity. They are the game changers, and in 2013, companies are going to have to work hard to attract, develop, and retain employees capable of creating value and driving growth. How would Hogan do it? Download From Potential to Performance to find out. 

MULTI-GENERATION WORKFORCE
Although they aren’t necessarily the entitled slackers the media made them out to be, Millennials (Generation Y) and Digital Natives (Generation Z) work differently than older generations. Organizations need to work to separate fact from fiction when it comes to generational differences in order to leverage the experience of their older employees and build the talent bench of the future. Need a place to start? Check out this blog

TALENT ANALYTICS
The HR world was all abuzz with talk of Big Data last year, and rightly so; many organizations are sitting on a mountain of data about their people. This year, the challenge is for those companies to find a way to effectively analyze, understand, and leverage those data to make their organizations run better. What kind of data do we have? Check out the Hogan archive

ENGAGEMENT
Employee engagement matters. Engaged employees are more satisfied and more productive, and productivity ties directly to the bottom line. In 2013, we hope to see a reduction in Hawaiian-shirt Fridays and a genuine effort by organizations to identify and fix the root cause of low engagement. Here’s a hint: it’s their leaders. Want more? Check out our free white paper

Topics: leadership, engagement, generational workforce

Driving Engagement in the 80%

Posted by Info Hogan on Tue, Jan 31, 2012

80In a recent blog for the Harvard Business Review, Ambiga Dhiraj, Head of Talent Management for Chicago-based Mu Sigma, a decision science and analytics services firm, made an interesting observation about her company’s talent management process:

When it comes to employee development, most companies traditionally follow the 10/80/10 rule: The top 10 percent are promoted, the middle 80 percent are nurtured, and the bottom 10 percent are let go. At my company, we followed this advice at first too. But we found that we were losing too many from the middle 80 percent: people who had great potential were leaving because they weren't getting promoted quickly enough.

As any HR professional can tell you, Mu Sigma isn’t the only company that faces this struggle – in fact, a survey released last year showed that nearly 40% of employed adults were looking for a new job. That’s bad news for companies. According to Dr. Robert Hogan, when [engagement] is low, absenteeism, turnover, and theft go up, and productivity and customer satisfaction go down.

So how can companies address low engagement? Hogan said engagement is commonly defined in terms of four components: cognitive – the role is consistent with a person’s identity; emotional – the person likes the role; physical – the person will work at the role; and existential – the role provides personal meaning.

Dhiraj said her company changed the basic way it motivated its employees:

[Previously], our managers used promotions as carrots. Now they are challenged to motivate employees in other ways – by giving them interesting projects to work on, public praise for their work, and the right guidance and encouragement.

Fellow HBR blogger Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project, approaches engagement on an even more basic level:

The single highest driver of engagement, according to a worldwide study conducted by Towers Watson, is whether or not workers feel their managers are genuinely interested in their wellbeing. Less than 40 percent of workers felt so engaged.

Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up. At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which is what frees us to do our best work. It's also energizing. When our value feels at risk, as it so often does, that worry becomes preoccupying, which drains and diverts our energy from creating value.

Topics: Dr. Robert Hogan, HBR, engagement

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