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Columbia Business Monthly

Find the right seats for your employees

Nov 09, 2018 02:10PM ● By Kathleen Maris

By Gary Markle, Energage

How many times have you encountered someone in a job who simply lacks the desire to perform? Perhaps they were invested at one point in time, but now it’s gone. They could do a good job if they wanted to, but they no longer care to make the effort.

The challenge is to determine what happened to their interest. Can it be rekindled — or has it been lost for good?

If you want to create a high-performing team — and ultimately — a Top Workplaces culture, pay attention to three key components:

  • An employee’s skills
  • The employee’s interests
  • The organization’s needs

That requires coaching, which is more than completing a performance review. More than evaluating an individual’s performance against competencies. Sure, it’s important to assess an employee’s skills. But it’s also important to consider the individual’s personal interests as well as the organization’s needs.

In some situations, employers can accommodate evolving interests. It all depends on the organization’s need. If people are bored with a work routine they’ve done day in and day out a thousand times, perhaps a coach can change it up. Alternatively, perhaps there’s a good match elsewhere in the organization for the individual’s interests and skill set. In other words, find the right seats on the bus. If not, it might be time for the employee to get off the bus.

Sometimes, the organization has a need but lacks people who have the interest or the skills. This is when it’s time to recruit externally. 

Consider these steps to make sure your employees are in the right seats:

  • Institutionalize listening: Make sure that you check employee interests at least annually using a formal process for collecting and reviewing this information. Your most talented people will leave you quickly if they’re bored or feel ignored.
  • Think systemically: Introduce a system such as Catalytic Coaching that provides the template for a comprehensive series of formal conversations about performance and potential.
    Educate: Train managers to function effectively as coaches. Train employees to be coachable. Remember that coaching is a skill that improves with education, mentoring, and practice.
  • Speed it up: Individuals who can’t or won’t perform should be dealt with in days, not weeks, months, or years. Spend less time with poor performers, and invest more on the good ones.
  • Take a sample of one: Realize that each person is unique. Get to understand their interests and skills as a unique individual — and then tailor your coaching solution to fit only them.

Gary Markle is a senior vice president at Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed nearly 3 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2018. Energage is the research partner for Top Workplaces. Nominate your company as a Top Workplace at

About The Top Workplaces Program:

The Top Workplaces program identifies organizations that excel at organizational health and employee engagement. Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Charleston Business Magazine, in partnership with Energage, formerly WorkplaceDynamics, offers a free assessment through a simple, scientifically sound, and anonymous employee feedback survey.

The Top Workplaces program recruits organizations, walks them through the survey, and creates the list of top-ranking companies. Why participate? Consider the benefits:

Shout out, stand out: Encourage workplace pride. If you work at a great company, give colleagues a morale boost with something to celebrate. And give your employer well-served credit for creating something special.

Assess, reward, and improve: The results from the Top Workplaces survey can help assess the health of companies. They validate achievements, reveal problem areas, and set a foundation for new goals.

Boost recruiting: Attract and retain the best talent. Employees want to work at companies recognized as leaders that operate by a strong set of values.

Raise the business profile: The Top Workplaces logo on company materials and websites helps spread the word about successful work environments. Customers and business partners will take notice. That awareness can help create new business opportunities, too.

Earn public recognition: Achievements are recognized by Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Charleston Business Magazine.

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

To participate, go to or call (864) 501-9699.

Energage, founded in 2006, is located in Exton, Pennsylvania. A leader in organizational health research and SaaS-based HR tools, Energage has reached more than 17 million employees from 50,000+ organizations through its employee engagement platform, Top Workplaces program, and workplace improvement solutions.

Contact: Bob Helbig, Media Partnerships Director Energage 414.207.1648