The Engagement Paradox

Countless articles and studies have been published about the importance of good employees for the success of a company. We all know that the biggest challenge any business is facing is its personnel. Engagement level is low, loyalty is decreasing and even honesty is becoming a serious issue (per the FBI, the fastest growing crime in the USA is employee theft). So, how do we manage such a challenge?

We need to philosophize a little bit on the subject!

  • Why do good people do bad things?
  • Why do honest people do dishonest things?
  • Why people lie sometimes and tell the truth other times?

Probably a question that was asked throughout the ages. Pretty much all philosophers told us that there is no absolute good and no absolute evil.

Dan Ariely - professor at Duke University - found that the common answer has to do with the internal state of the person. (1) The reality is that the decisions people often choose to make are influenced by the environment in which they are placed.

The study finds that people's standards for morality are dramatically influenced by the environment they are in at the time.

Hence, as an employer, how do you influence the internal state of your team?


What can a CEO, manager, supervisor etc. do to create in their teammates a positive state of being?

For generations, companies have invested in customer loyalty through programs, incentives, customer service and more. Meanwhile, not quite as much attention has been placed on a sector that has been proven to greatly affect customer retentionemployee engagement and loyalty.

According to Gallup, Less than one-third of Americans are engaged in their jobs in any given year. (2) Their research shows that managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores.(3)

"When employees feel that the company takes their interest to heart, then the employees will take company interests to heart," says Dr. Noelle Nelson, a best-selling author. (4)

A study from the Jackson Organization (now Healthstream, Inc.) shows that "companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity and assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don't."

We find that the answer for a successful positive company culture is in picking the right fit personnel, and ONLY then investing heavily in your team to really get them engaged.

You can engage your people by doing simple things; one of the most needed and natural form of respect is to acknowledge people when they do great things.

Most employees crave for receiving recognitions throughout the year. It's great to feel fulfilled by your work. A "nice job" or "thank you" can go a long way. It's not just about the act of recognition, but the principle: If people feel that their efforts are appreciated, they will feel compelled to continue working hard.

Make sure to emphasize an employee's recent accomplishments on a project during a company meeting. Develop an easy and highly visible recognition system for everyone throughout the organization to notice so that others can share the acknowledgement.

Letting your employees know they made someone's day (or more) makes them feel good - and gives them a deeper connection to your business.

In order for employees to act in the best interests of the company, they need to be kept engaged with regular and honest updates on the current state of things, as well as your vision of the future.

Recognize true potential and promote from within.

Give your team more of a say in how they do their job. After all you want them to own their position. Encourage their input and get suggestions on how they can improve their performance. Most personnel have ideas about how they can be more efficient, but they may not share them with you unless you make the effort to ask them.

Always be willing to learn new things and promote education for all employees, no matter how much you think you or they already know.

Of course, there are many more ways to motivate your team and keep them engaged but the above was found to be the main ones.


Daniel Sadeh,

Partner - Hirebox

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Ariely
  2. http://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/188033/worldwide-employee-engagement-crisis.aspx
  3. http://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/182321/employees-lot-managers.aspx
  4. http://noellenelson.com/Book_Make_More_Money.cfm