Dan Maxwell
July 15, 2013

Talent Management recently posted a blog reviewing Gallup’s recent findings on employee engagement: Employees Are Not Thrilled With Their Jobs.

Doesn’t look good … 70% claim they don’t like what they do every day.

Having reviewed Gallup’s recommended remedies to the problem, here are a couple key observations from a “traits” perspective:

1. Since once again, we see that Managers make a crucial difference, organizations who do their homework to find the right Managers will succeed – not only to engage their employees, but inevitably to increase quality, productivity and efficiency.

We must add though, the effort to find the right Managers cannot be a simple review of current top performers in the organization. That might lead to selecting someone with a technical profile who has naturally developed a strong level of expertise in their area, then promoting that person into a role which neither fits their personality nor allows them to further develop their greatest strengths!

Traits required for front line roles are fundamentally different from those required to direct the work of others and delegate the tasks that get the job done.

2. Employees who “fit” their role, can be held accountable for responsibilities they enjoy!

By “fit” we mean that the employee’s traits support the behaviors required in their role. In other words, what they’re being asked to do, they want to!

If there wasn’t something to the idea that traits influence behavior, then aligning people and jobs would be a matter of measuring many other things e.g. skills, education and experience. While those do matter, the question remains, will a degree in Accounting give someone the characteristics required to build a business? Cold-calling and running calculations are two very different activities – both requiring their own set of skills; but more importantly, both motivated by a very different set of traits.

Admittedly, this is a very broad topic since there are so many factors to engagement. But consider this … some of those factors are changeable e.g. a lack of feedback can be addressed through more frequent Manager – Staff interactions. However, a lack of Sociability can’t be “fixed” through more communication courses. Either one has a natural desire to consistently interact with others, or it will constantly be a struggle to “like” the job which requires a person to continually step out of their comfort zone.

What examples have you seen of people who are naturally engaged because their job fits them so perfectly? Or what have you seen of the opposite i.e. someone who is so ill-fitted to their role that they infect everyone else with their discontent?