How Employee Engagement Supports Talent Optimization

March 13, 2020 at 8:00 am
Wooden gears.

Engaged employees help businesses run more smoothly.

Earlier posts on this blog have already established that employee engagement is both important for a company’s success and so essential for employees that it needs to start before a new hire even comes on board.

This post will explore the ways in which employee engagement supports talent optimization, which will create even more success and help companies experience all the benefits of having the best possible, most engaged talent in all areas of their business.

Employee engagement is not easy to achieve, nor is it common to most companies. Some crucial elements of engaging employees are the following:

  • Creating open and safe lines of communication
  • Sharing the company’s culture and vision
  • Asking for employee input and showing that the company values it
  • Creating a sense of purpose for each job
  • Recognizing effort and achievement
  • Rewarding success

Whatever it takes, companies need to find ways to let employees know that the company is on their side and wants–no, needs–them to be the best they can possibly be. When employees feel deeply that everyone at work is in it together, their engagement levels rise. When they get the sense that their work matters, they will engage at a deeper level in order to be worthy of that purpose.

And when they are placed in the right job for their skills and personality, they will naturally be engaged at work and find it easier to give their best. That’s where talent optimization comes in.

Talent optimization makes employee engagement more likely.

Talent optimization is part of the employee engagement equation in more ways than one. If you can bring in tools that foster talent optimization like cognitive and behavioral assessments as part of the hiring process, it will help you match particular strengths and areas of challenge with each job.

When you get the right people in the right jobs, it helps engagement at almost an instinctive level. Instead of having to make an effort to fight against their nature to complete tasks, employees can put that effort toward productive work.

For example, when an introvert takes a sales job, it is bound to be draining for them even if they are successful. Eventually, engagement levels are bound to fall as the job gets harder and harder to maintain. There may be a falling off of quotas and a feeling that they just aren’t doing a good job, which could cause further disengagement.

For an extrovert, on the other hand, a sales job can play right into their strengths as a people-oriented person who naturally reaches out to and connects with others. Extroverts are energized by contact with others instead of drained. This fosters even more engagement, which leads to higher sales and both the employee and company benefit.

The cycle of employee engagement and talent optimization.

It doesn’t only hold true that talent optimization helps employee engagement, however. The reverse is also true. It is only when employees are engaged that talent optimization will have the full support that it needs.

Using various assessments during the hiring process is a good way to make sure talent is optimized right out of the gate, but what about existing employees? That’s where the other side of the cycle takes place, in that using assessments for existing employees will lead to greater talent optimization that will support and foster engagement.

When talent assessments are used with existing employees, a number of things can happen. In some cases, the assessments reveal skills gaps that can be addressed through retraining or continuing education. Other times, insight about aspects of their work style or behavioral traits can bring clarity to their view of work or to management’s view of their work.

Another possibility is that employees can be moved to different positions or given different job duties that are more in line with their natural skills. When employees’ talents are optimized because of these types of realizations or changes, it helps them inject new energy into their work and fosters engagement that just doesn’t happen when employees are frustrated by skill or behavior-related problems or difficulties.

Coworkers creating a tower of fists.

Employees who are engaged want to get along with others at work.

Talent optimization protects against employee disengagement.

Most employees are highly engaged when they first get hired for a job, but without a significant amount of effort, managers know that level of engagement can easily begin to fade over time.

When employee engagement does begin to fade, it does so for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The repetitive aspects of the job become too easy or boring.
  • No opportunities to develop new skills or advance past the current position.
  • Minor but important disagreements with co-workers that remain unresolved.
  • Minor but important disagreements with management that remain unresolved.
  • The job becomes too hard, so you give up.
  • You feel like you don’t fit in because of workplace culture or dynamics.

These causes of employee disengagement can be lessened or eliminated entirely when talent optimization measures have been put in place before, during and after the hiring process.

Here is what properly optimized talent can do:

Remove boredom from the equation. Skills and traits are well-matched to each position with appropriate challenges based on the employee’s abilities. In addition, repetitive tasks can be increasingly automated if boredom is impacting engagement. The right level of variety is maintained, and in a good match, an employee will feel somewhat stretched but not beyond their depth.

Incorporate succession planning. Employees will know their planned career path at your company, which will decrease feelings of dissatisfaction or confusion about where they stand. Career pathing also gives employees goals to work towards, which helps engagement levels be steadier and more consistent. A sense of meaning is important for today’s employees and gives them another reason to remain engaged.

Motivate healthy communication and conflict resolution. Employees who aren’t engaged in their workplaces find it easier to let conflicts fester, and these conflicts can grow from minor grievances to dealbreakers that prompt them to leave the company. When employees are engaged, however, they will be more willing to do what it takes to resolve minor conflicts, which will lead to a much healthier functioning workplace as well as maintaining the healthy levels of engagement.

Develop a shared culture around skills and traits. The most authentic workplace cultures are those that develop naturally around shared workplace skills, values and traits. Talent optimization helps build this kind of healthy culture that will include people rather than make some feel like they don’t fit in.

Employee engagement that is supported by talent optimization has the potential to be long-lasting and bring other positive benefits to the workplace. Working to optimize talent is one of the most essential steps businesses can take if they value employee engagement and want to see their employees become more engaged or remain highly engaged in their jobs.

Predictive Index assessments have proven their worth for talent optimization, helping companies diagnose business problems related to their previous hiring choices, strategically design company dynamics that will work best for them, and build the most effective teams within those dynamics.

A survey by Predictive Index showed that retention is far higher for companies that use talent optimization practices like assessments–only a 17% turnover rate vs. 47% for those without talent optimization. A big part of the difference is that employees whose workplaces make efforts toward talent optimization also foster higher engagement levels at the same time.

Let Narish International use its talent optimization expertise to help you build higher-performing teams.