A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

I Love Not Working Well For You

I attended the SHRM National Conference in Orlando recently and went to quite a few concurrent sessions that got me thinking.

One session was about money…how an organization makes it, wastes it or loses it…and, of course, what Human Resource professionals should be doing about all of them to ensure organizational success.

The presenter talked about engagement, and how Human Resources needs to provide leadership with the information and tools it needs to better engage its workforce.


images-2My goodness, this word has been used a lot over the past few years!

Everyone wants more of it!

We assess the levels of engagement, we implement initiatives to get more of it, and then we analyze the results of those activities so we can figure out if we need to execute more of them.



I wonder if we are pursuing engagement for the sake of engagement and, in the meantime, we are forgetting about the development of our staff?


  • What happens when an employee is very engaged but not skilled?
  • What happens when a motivated and engaged employee thinks he/she knows more than he/she actually does?
  • What happens when a fully committed employee doesn’t know what he/she doesn’t know?
  • What happens when an engaged employee tries his/her best but just doesn’t have the skills necessary to complete the task?

The answers are obvious – failures occur!


In a perfect world, we’ve hired employees who are qualified, who have the capability of succeeding at their jobs, and who have the capacity to evolve into newer, challenging positions as our organization needs them to.


But how many of us live in a perfect world?  I fear very few of us have the luxury.


Therefore, before you hop into yet another engagement initiative, perhaps you should take a look at your staff’s talent and competencies.

  • Are there obvious gaps in their knowledge?
  • Are they falling short of the performance standard because of a skill deficiency?
  • Do they try and try but just don’t seem cut out for the work?


  • When was the last time you’ve done a competency assessment?
  • Can your performance evaluations help you asses your employee’s knowledge, skills and abilities?
  • Have you ever asked your staff what they believe they need to learn and master in order to better perform their work?

Of course engagement is important, but so is competence.

We must move both dials forward to ensure organizational success.


Bottom LineEmployee EngagementEmployee RelationsEngagementHuman ResourcesPerformance ManagementRole of HRSHRMSkill DevelopmentWorkforce Satisfaction

Heather Kinzie • June 27, 2014

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