According to Truss (expert in employee engagement) and her colleagues (2010) it is paramount to ensure that the 5 key principles of employee engagement are met: first, keeping employees informed; second, listening to them; third, setting clear objectives for them; fourth, ensuring that the person fits the job that they are doing; and fifth, ensuring that the work that is provided is meaningful. However, this list, despite being difficult enough to achieve on its own is not enough. To truly engage a workforce, organisations, in addition to getting the five key principles right, also need to tailor their engagement programs to tap into the different types of workers that Truss and her colleagues have defined from their research.
In total, eight companies took part in the research totalling 180,000 employees. Analysis suggested that there are four key types of employee:
On the whole, the good news is that the majority of company employees are engaged in their work, with 43% Grand Prix Drivers, 14% Pole Vaulters, 10% Long Distance Runners. However, this does mean that 33% are Flatliners, and so I suspect this feeds back into the principles first mentioned – focus on those principles, especially on getting the person job fit right and ensuring that work is interesting enough to help guard, to some extent, against those who create a negative core in any organisation...
Truss, K. Soane, E. (2010). Engaging the ‘pole vaulters’ on your staff’. Harvard Business Review, March Edition p.24