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Keeping your employees engaged is an ongoing process

It is generally understood that the more employees are engaged in their positions or company, the more effective they will be at performing their responsibilities. But how can you tell whether a person is truly engaged in the job or just scraping by and slowly burning out?

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article that described Danielle Blimline‘s struggle to decide whether to quit or stay in a job that was no longer engaging her.  She was a top performer in the role, but she no longer felt challenged.  She felt stuck, and the result was a decline in her performance for the first time in her career with Level 3 Communications.  After receiving coaching from an outside resource, she decided to take a chance, propose a change to management, and ask if the company would accommodate her professional needs.

However, Ms. Blimline is an exception. She was unhappy with her job, and she took charge in the hopes of finding a solution that would allow her to stay with Level 3.  More often than not, employees who are not engaged will underperform, try to “get by,” or simply quit.

It’s important to look for red flags indicating that your employees may be experiencing a similar level of disengagement.  Are any of your top performers starting to falter?  What’s happening?

We recommend looking for some warning signs of burnout by asking yourself these questions:

  • Has the individual been in the same role for a significant amount of time?
  • Does the person complete the same types of tasks or projects again and again?
  • Is the employee seeking out new or challenging activities and being held back or denied?
  • Has his or her morale dropped in recent months?
  • Has his or her formerly strong performance begun to decline?

Often, when a current or former top performer leaves a position, it’s because of disengagement, not a skills issue. If you feel one of your employees may be in danger of burnout, we recommend having a conversation to find out the answers to some critical questions. Where does he or she want to be? What type of work does he or she want to do? What seems to motivate him or her?  What’s missing in his or her current role?

By reaching out to your employees to solicit their input and incorporate their ideas, you are showing that you care. It’s important to provide opportunities for your people to stretch in ways that benefit them – not just the company. By pulling them back in, you can start to pave the way for enhanced engagement and, in turn, enhanced performance.

About Caliper - For nearly half a century, Caliper has been helping companies achieve peak performance by advising them on hiring the right people, managing individuals most effectively and developing productive teams. The accuracy, objectivity and depth of our consulting approach enable us to provide solutions that work for over 25,000 companies. To find out more about how Caliper can help you identify and develop people who can lead your organization to peak performance, please visit us at  or call us at 609-524-1200. Email to contact Caliper.