What is Employee Engagement AND do you have it?

Employees Engaged in their jobs at YOUR company

Could you define employee engagement?

Can you measure it?

Do you have specific programs and initiatives in place to improve or build employee engagement?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, you're in big trouble with your workforce.

I define employee engagement as employees who are excited to come to work, are learning new skills and capabilities, are intellectually stimulated through challenging work, expectations, and assignments. They get praised when they do an outstanding job, and they are recognized by their peers for going above and beyond the call of duty. They wouldn't think of leaving your company for greener pastures, even if they got a 10-15% salary boost. They have a clear understanding of your well-articulated culture and vision, and buy into with all their heart. They are passionate about what your company does, and the role they play. Your employee surveys, 360 degree reviews, and monthly performance coaching confirms that you've got an engaging culture.

How do you define it?

If you have a large percentage of your workforce, especially your better performers, who are not engaged – then prepare yourself for the upcoming flood of talent leaving your organization.

Companies that recognize the importance of an engaged workforce have specific programs in place. They can talk about during an interview. They can reinforce to retain great talent. It allows them to “recruiter-proof” their company.

What employee engagement programs, initiatives, and tactics have you implemented to create an engaged workforce?

Barry Deutsch

Let’s NOT train our staff so they’ll get picked off for better jobs

Are providing enough training and development to keep your employees engaged?


I was conducting our Speaker Program on retention titled “You’re the Person I WANT to Keep” and we were at the section on discussing how training and development is a powerful element of employee satisfaction and engagement.

One of the CEOs in the room blurts out “Why should we train our people – we’re just preparing them to be stolen by our competitors”

I was so stunned at this remark, I was for once at a loss for words. Then, an even bigger shocker took place: Some of the other CEOs in the room actually started nodding their heads in agreement.

What have to come to where we are so afraid of our employees leaving, that we're willing to lock them in the basement, put our thumb down on top of them, and crush their future capability?

Is this perspective dysfunctional or what?

NOT training your employees is a sure way to lose them. NOT providing opportunities for learning, development, and personal growth is one of the major reasons 50% of your workforce is logging onto job boards trying to see if the grass is greener somewhere else.

Training the heck out of your workforce is one of the best ways to “recruiter-proof” your company. I know you’ll lose a few people over time to competitors; however, you’ll keep a far larger group.

Perhaps, most importantly, the value training brings extends far beyond just keeping people. Your workforce becomes more skilled, knowledgeable, and capable than all your competitors. Productivity goes up. I can’t begin to quantify the value of a well-trained workforce.

What’s your training investment? How much of every revenue dollar goes to training? Does every employee have a personal development plan for formal training, e-courses, webinars, projects, on-the-job skill training?

When you are planning on making training one of the core elements of your culture?

Barry Deutsch

How Important Is Hiring and Retaining Great People?

Is Hiring and Retaining Top Talent Important To Your Organization?

On a recent Harvard Business Review Blog Article, titled Good Managers Lead Through a Team, Linda Hill & Kent Lineback spoke about how the ability to manage teams is one of the key pillars of success for managers and executives. This an excellent and well-written article that all managers and executives should read.

I commented on the article since I felt the authors missed the key point about people and teams. It’s not as much the ability to manage them – as it is the issue of hiring and retaining them.

Here were my comments to the authors. What are your thoughts?


Excellent post about a key pillar of successful managers and leaders. I'll go one step further. In our executive search practice, we've completed well over 1,000 projects and interviewed over 250,000 managerial and executive candidates over the last 25 years. We've identified that the NUMBER ONE element of success for managers and executives is hiring and retaining a top-notch team.

Even hiring managers and executives with technical weaknesses in their functional niche or specialty out-performed their more technically adept peers due to their stronger teams. It affects career progression, job opportunities, bonus and incentives, and job satisfaction.

Managers and Executives who hired middle-of-the-road minimally qualified candidates, and accepted mediocrity among their team members, had average and mediocre careers – passed over for promotions, denied new opportunities, and failed to earn their full bonus potential.

No other trait or ability appears to come close to the correlation of success for managers and executives and their ability to hire and retain top talent.

Unfortunately, most companies give the concept of hiring top talent and “our people are our most important asset” lip service. Rewards, incentives, goals, objectives, and consequences don't match the propaganda most companies spew out about their people and teams. You can find isolated cases of companies that make hiring and retaining a top priority – but the list is very small. More likely, you'll find a few managers and executives scattered through-out different companies who instinctively “GET IT.”

Why do you think there is such a gap between the generic words about the importance of people and team members vs. the practical application on a day-to-day basis?


Share your experience of what happens when managers and executives do a great job of hiring and retaining top talent vs. what happens when weak, average, and mediocre people are hired and “tolerated.”

If you would like to read the full article, click the link below:

Good Managers Lead Through A Team

Barry Deutsch


PS: Download a copy of our best-selling book “You’re NOT the Person I Hired” and take our Hiring Process Assessment to determine if your organization is capable of hiring top talent.

What Have You Done to Develop Your Team?

Are you developing a team of motivated, engaged, happy, satisfied, and stimulated direct reports?

Lack of training, development, and growth is one of the primary reasons your best talent might walk out the door on you sooner than you think!

Last week I presented to a group of CEOs who were shocked that I was suggesting they spend any time with their direct reports talking about development, training, engagement, satisfaction, intellectual stimulation, desires, hopes, and dreams. They considered that “HR Talk” and felt it would be “below” them to have to engage in a “career aspiration-type” dialogue.

I can guarantee that these CEOs are in for a rude surprise in the near future when some of the talent they depend on most – start to leave. Once a few start to leave, the rest fall like dominos, and word gets out on the street that your company (YOU)  does not develop, groom, and prepare people for bigger challenges.


What Does Top Talent Expect?

Are you focused on developing your team – is this idea constantly bubbling up into your thoughts, OR are you praying that since everyone shows up for work everyday, they must enjoy their job? Don’t be lulled to sleep by false impressions.

Contrary to popular opinion, just showing up does not mean contented cows, engaged employees, and satisfaction levels that are the envy of your competitors.

Top talent expects to be continuously trained. They expect to be given challenging assignments that stretch them to the next level. They want to come to work to be stimulated, intellectually turned on, pushed to excel, and forced to do their very best work to high standards.

When they are not being trained, developed, and given projects that add to their skill and knowledge level, they’ll start taking calls about other job opportunities from their friends, former business associates, and recruiters. Worst case, they’ll proactively go on-line to the major job boards and start seeking out opportunities.


The LIB Curve of Employee Motivation

My partner, Brad Remillard, wrote a job post, which you might title “Those Darn Recruiters”. Many companies try to impose elaborate schemes and security measures to prevent recruiters from talking to their employees. Unfortunately, Brad and I have never been able to recruit a candidate who was happy and content in their current job.

You know that a large part of being happy and content is being trained, developed, and challenged with higher level work. This is really basic Abraham Maslow concepts from decades ago. What’s surprising to me – is that most companies and executives VIOLATE on a daily basis the basic concepts of employee satisfaction, engagement, and happiness (Maslow termed a big part of that satisfaction: Self-Actualization).

If you’ve seen Brad or I present our workshop titled either “You’re NOT the Person I Hired” or “You’re the Person I want to KEEP”, then you know we use a model of employee satisfaction called the LIB Curve – which is a variation of Maslow's Self-Actualization. Feel free to check out some of our previous articles on the LIB Curve of Employee Motivation.

Basic Common Sense in Generating Smiles

Do You Inspire Others to Self-Motivate?

Why You Should Measure Self-Motivation

Here’s the key question: Do you know where every single one of your direct reports sits on the LIB curve? Are they at +8, –12, or flat-lined? If you don’t know where each one sits and where they want to be, perhaps it’s time to put your “career mentor” hat on and have a serious heart-to-heart with your direct report about their current and desired level of learning, impact, and becoming something better (LIB).

OR would it be better to wait until they come into your office and tell you they are planning on giving their 2 week notice?

When you walk in the office tomorrow, what’s the first thing you’ll start doing to develop your team?

Barry Deutsch

P.S. Download our Internet Radio Show Podcast on Non-Monetary Reward and Recognition where we discuss the internal processes required to inspire your staff to self-motivate, to engage and stimulate your top talent, and to retain your best performers.

Recruiters Don’t Steal People, Managers Lose People

So often recruiters are accused of  “stealing your best employee.”  While it is true that we do present opportunities to your employees, the fact is, we don't steal them. To the amazement of most recruiters, the vast majority of the time the employee already has a resume prepared and ready to go.

All we do is ask them if they would be open to discussing a potential career opportunity. Virtually 95% of the time the employee replies, “Yes.” Why would anyone not want to know what is going on in the market, have a discussion around their career or just get a feel for current compensation ranges? Even if they are completely happy in their current position, this is good stuff to know.

The important, and I believe the most relevant question is,” Why, out of the 95% that are open to discussing career opportunities, do roughly 10% indicate that they are happy with their job, and although it sounds like a good opportunity, they aren’t interested in pursuing it further?”

What do these 10% have that the other 90% don’t? That is something a recruiter has nothing to do with. They generally have four things, 1) they are learning in their current position, 2) they feel they are having some impact on the company, 3) they are growing, and 4) they respect their boss. When these four things are part of a person's job, the best recruiter can’t get them to move.

An example of this recently happened. I was jointly interviewing candidates with one of my clients.  At dinner one night, my client started asking me about the job market, “Is it picking up?” and  “Are any particular industries hiring?”  He mentioned that he thought the market was getting better because in the last couple of months he had been contacted a couple of times by recruiters for potential opportunities.  Like most, he listened to what they had to say, but in both instances he thanked the recruiter for the call and flatly turn them down.

Why, I asked?

Like most, his answer had nothing to do with compensation. He commented, “I enjoy what I’m doing. I have a great boss and most of all I’m challenged.” Then he added, “When I stop being challenged it is time to move on.” In fact, prior to being promoted to his current position he was looking. If his current position had not come open he would have left the company.

As he explained it, “My last boss treated me like a step child (I used step child. His word did start with an S). The position had lost its challenges, the job was the job, and that was all there was to it.” His boss was rarely around to support him and he was doing the same thing this year as he had done the last three years. Boredom and lack of respect for his boss had set in. The good news was that he worked for an excellent company. BTW, he has been with this company for 12  years and in his current position for 4 years.

This is a classic example of how one employee went from engaging recruiters to telling them, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

We realize that not every company has the ability to promote someone or move them to another position in order to retain them. However, that doesn't mean there aren't a number of things a company can do to help their best talent feel challenged, feel that they are learning, and be respected by their boss. This can happen in just about any sized company.

The best recruiter couldn't “steal” this person.  It all had to do with the job and the person's boss.  The vast majority of people leave because they lose respect for their boss.  The best selling book, First Break All The Rules, validates this. This book should be required reading for all managers, regardless of how many years they've been a manager. As recruiters for the last 30 years, my partner Barry Deutsch and I, can also validate this is clearly the number one reason candidates tell us they are open to talking about a new position.

To help companies and hiring managers identify some of the things that managers can do to retain their best talent we have put together for you to download our 8 Level Retention Matrix. This matrix will help you identify whether or not your managers are doing what it takes to retain your best talent.

If your managers do some, or most of these, you won't lose your talent to a recruiter. Your competition will.

You can also download for free our most popular chapter on sourcing top talent from our best-selling book, You're NOT The Person I Hired. CLICK HERE to download your free chapter.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard