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Success Needs A Partner

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The Harvard Business school  identified 1000 very successful financial analysts and then followed their progress for ten years as they moved from firm to firm.  Guess what happened to their level of success in the new environment – it  dropped,  in some cases significantly.

Why the slip in performance?  The study’s authors attribute the decline to the changed work environment.  To put a finer point on it, the success of the individual was dependent on the qualities of the organization.  The variables cited included:

•    The quality of communication (we have a blog category on this topic.  Lasting progress starts here)
•    Relationships at work (and we would say their relationship with work)
•    Available resources (software/hardware, bright colleagues, bench strength)
•    Brand reputation (at Engagient, we consider this a part of the employee’s relationship with work as well)

Anyone who has worked for different employers understands this.  How we are supported, the quality of our work relationships, how we feel when we go to work – all of these factors (and more) either contribute to or diminish our productivity and workplace well-being.

What we don’t often see, and this study provides, is a comprehensive (and in this case measurable) analysis of “success” where the only major variable for individual performance is a shift in the workplace.

We have seen this shift in employee performance with moves inside organizations.  Someone with glowing reviews moves to a new department/title/job function and all of a sudden their level of success declines.  We have seen this process in reverse as well.  Our brilliant partners over at Hiring Smart make reference to the need for ensuring that everyone is in the right seat on the bus.

BEST PRACTICE TIP — When you consider the effectiveness of your employees, have you done enough to make sure they are in the most supportive environment?  We know that success is in some part dependent on the workplace (culture, resources, etc). Could your staff be more successful (and engaged) with a few more resources?  Have you asked them recently?


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Don Rheem was one of the best presenters any of us had ever encountered.

I began to see positive changes within a short time as we started implementing Engagient’s best practices.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and several colleagues expressed a desire to bring him in to work with their organizations.

--Elizabeth Donoghue, Executive Director
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