June 17, 2020

Improve Employee Engagement – Starts with Hiring the Right Person for the Job


Based on a recent *Gallop Employee Engagement survey in early May, Gallup found that the percentage of "engaged" workers in the U.S. -- those who are highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace -- reached an all-time high of 38%,. This high number seems a little strange being that the pandemic started in the U.S. in March. Gallup attributed this high number to three areas during the pandemic: 1) The employer response is improving , 2) The employment base is smaller (30 million employees became unemployed, in March they were surveyed and if still employed they would have brought the numbers down in May), 3) Employees feel fortunate to have work.

Gallup identified three groups: Engaged, Not Engaged and Actively Disengaged. The middle group, ‘not engaged’ consisted of 49% of the workers studied. “They are psychologically unattached to their work and company…..Not engaged employees typically show up to work and contribute the minimum effort required. They're also on the lookout for better employment opportunities and will quickly leave their company for a slightly better offer.” This is the group that your company should identify and start spending some extra time turning around.

The question then really becomes, what is going wrong with the middle group that is causing them to not be engaged? Could it be poor job fit, not getting a promotion, the manager or a poor manager fit, or the company itself being a bad fit. If pay is the problem, they most likely took a job on day one that was a poor pay fit. Many reasons are possible. If job fit is not the main reason, you have a better chance of making some positive changes.

If all employees had a good ‘job fit’, employee engagement would be higher and easier to manage. Hank Plotkin, retired founder of Plotkin Group, wrote a book called ‘Building a Winning Team’. In Chapter Six he discusses the formula to success that Plotkin Group has professed for years: Selection plus Training plus Treatment Equals Happy Employees which Equals Happy Customers. Hire the right person for the right job, train them properly and treat them well. Not only is job fit important, so is manager fit and culture fit. “Bad hiring decisions live with your organization and are probably sitting there in your office today while you read this book. No amount of training nor specific treatment by management can make up for a bad hire.”

Hank also quoted Gerald Graham, Dean of the W Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University. “What are the three most important factors for success in management? I suggest the answer is selection, selection, selection! Employee selection is so crucial that nothing else – not leadership, not team building, not training, not pay incentives, not total quality management – can overcome poor hiring decisions.”

What comes first? In retail its Location, Location, Location and for building a winning team at your company it’s Selection, Selection, Selection! If you are short circuiting your selection process, employee engagement is bound to suffer. Please contact us to discuss this topic further by emailing us at info@plotkingroup.com. For the first 10 people that contact us, we will send you a free copy of the book “Building A Winning Team” by Hank Plotkin.

*Workplace, May 29, 2020, Employee Engagement Continues Historic Rise Amid Coronavirus, By Jim Harter