Maybe Employee Engagement is all About The Right Hire, from start-to-finish


Let’s do a little cross-discipline thinking.

One of the hot business topics, for quite some time, is this: how do we got more-engaged employees?

There are books on employee engagement, and plenty of suggestions on how to get, and keep, your employees more engaged. It’s a good and noble pursuit. The current numbers are clear (from this source – google it, and these numbers are pretty much confirmed in other surveys):

29% of workers are engaged
45% of workers are not engaged
and 26% of workers are actively disengaged. (These will really do you in!).

And, by all indications, these numbers are not budging much. They are not increasing. And that’s not good, because the higher the level of engagement, the happier, more diligent, more productive the workers.

So… about that cross-discipline thinking.

Here’s one of my takeaways from the book The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns by Sasha Issenberg (New York: Crown victory-labPublishing. 2012). It’s about winning elections.

Identify the folks who would be your folks, and remind them to:

  • do what they “promised” to do
  • do what they would do anyway if they just were simply to do it…
  • do what their peers (people who matter to them!) would applaud
  • avoid doing what their peers would look down on.

In other words, engaged voters vote. And you don’t get voters to vote for your candidate by converting the other candidate’s voters, nor by convincing the undecided. No, you get your voters by finding your voters, and reminding them to put their intentions into practice.

So… what if employee engagement is similar?  What if it is not about converting the not-engaged, but instead, identifying the potential employees who are likely to be engaged from day one, and hiring those people, and only those people?

I think that may be a (the!) great big important key.

Oh sure, the company can do things to increase and enhance employee engagement – for those so inclined to be fully engaged to begin with. But for those who show up at work to collect a check and then get out of there as quickly as possible, maybe doing the least amount of work possible, then the cause may be close to hopeless to begin with.

Oh, there may be a few stories of success – “this person was not engaged at all, and now look at how engaged he/she is” — but , for the most part… not so much.

So, maybe employee engagement starts with, and really depends on, hiring the most-likely-to be-engaged workers to begin with.

That’s what I’m thinking today, anyway…

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