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Find a Starting Point and Go

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Terms like talent management, employee engagement and corporate culture all mean something very different depending on your starting point. The market is currently focused on the topic of employee retention vis-à-vis engagement, especially as the quest for qualified skills escalates and company hiring rebounds. Gallup’s 2013 study on the State of the Global Workforce, which showed that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, has sent shivers up the spines of directors, CEOs and HR professionals. The same poll revealed that 63% of employees worldwide lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort into organizational goals or outcomes.

How did we get to this point? The recession of 2008 froze workers in place; most were afraid to make a change at the risk of becoming the new kid on the block and subject to last in, first out workforce reductions. The halo effect of a depressing economy spilled over into workplaces where few new investments were being made and from which even fewer innovations were emerging. The laws of inertia were pervasive; things not in motion remained at a standstill.

Fast forward to a rebounding economy and employers are starting to get nervous about flight risks and talent acquisition. Having cut to the quick in the last go-round, they’re determined to get it right this time. It’s this mindset that makes corporate culture so crucial: first to identify it and equally important to hire in support of it, making culture assessment companies such as Hogan Assessment Systems particularly relevant. The right team makes or breaks a company, a facility or a function. And it’s never a single attribute that makes the difference – such as working longer hours or new TPS reports – it’s the blend of hiring the right hard and soft skills, cultivating engagement and passion, and delivering frequent, authentic employee communications as well.

While Gallup’s research is disturbing, so is the underlying premise that engagement drives the tipping point. One can do the right things for the right reasons; conversely, it is possible to do the right things for the wrong reasons as well. Consider the current debacle featuring the governor of New Jersey. A former prosecutor, Chris Christie, lives by the sword but, in recent times, appears to die by it as well. A culture of intimidation and fear for one’s job has allegedly resulted in a team of henchmen bent on bullying the opposition. Are they engaged in supporting the cause? Perhaps, but for all of the wrong reasons.

Devon turns 20 years old in April. Achieving twenty years in business gives a company a long time to make mistakes and hopefully to cease making them again. Recently we received what I consider to be the highest possible compliment from a client: “You have the best talent on your team.” That mission first started with our focus on hiring the best talent. Find out who you are and what you want to be. Creating awareness through assessment can create a solid foundation that begets better business results.