Want to Improve Engagement? Update Your Hiring Practices

The following is an excerpt from Cloverleaf cofounder Darrin Murriner’s book entitled Corporate Bravery. We thought you might find the content engaging and look forward to talking about technology solutions that can help with selection and promotion decisions.

Management dysfunction can make us fearful in a corporate context, but, said another way, it kills employee engagement. Gallup, the famous polling organization, does an annual study on the level of employee engagement in organizations across the world. Each year this report is scoured by HR, business management, and academics for insight into how our cultures and behaviors can improve organizational effectiveness. An excerpt from their most recent report begins with a warning:

At Gallup, we’ve studied the impact of human nature on the economy for decades. We’ve now reviewed more than 25 million responses to our employee engagement survey, the Q12. And what we found out about managers and employees has serious implications for the future of American companies and the world.

The rest of the report is a depressing read with a litany of stats that all point to one primary cause: bad management behavior. It sows the contagion of fear one employee at a time, but does so broadly enough to make entire organizations ineffective. The Gallup report sums it up with this synopsis:

Of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs, 30 million (30%) are engaged and inspired at work, so we can assume they have a great boss. At the other end of the spectrum are roughly 20 million (20%) employees who are actively disengaged. These employees, who have bosses from hell that make them miserable, roam the halls spreading discontent. The other 50 million (50%) American workers are not engaged. They’re just kind of present, but not inspired by their work or their managers.

Despite the efforts of new and innovative management practices, increased management training, and a slew of other approaches to increase engagement, the 30% engagement level quoted by Gallup hasn’t budged in a decade. It ebbs and flows a bit year-to-year, but on the whole, it’s remained flat.

So why hasn’t the needle moved on engagement? Gallup believes it has to do with our hiring practices:

Whom companies name as manager is one of the most important decisions they make given that managers play a critical role in driving engagement in any organization. Whether hiring from the outside or promoting from within, organizations that scientifically select managers for the unique talents it takes to effectively manage people greatly increase the odds of employee engagement. Instead of using management jobs as promotional prizes for all career paths, companies should treat them as unique roles with distinct functional demands that require a specific talent set. The reality is that many people who are the best performers in their current roles do not have the talents necessary to effectively manage people.

To read more you can access Corporate Bravery at Amazon.com and if you would like to learn more about how Cloverleaf can help your team or organization hire and promote the right people to lead your teams Contact Us now.


Enjoy this blog post? Leadership Perceptions Gap

Darrin Murriner