Blog Post

Are Some of Your Employees ’Hard Wired’ for Engagement?

Don MacPherson

Partner at Aon

Our Trends in Global Employee Engagement report shows that between 35 percent and 40 percent of employees around the world are Actively Disengaged or Passive at work. So, what can you do as a leader to engage your workforce? It’s a question that leaders often ask, but the truth is, there is no one thing. Your organization has to make engagement possible by creating an environment of trust, paying fairly and having a set of values that are known and lived throughout the organization. This sets the foundation for leaders to drive engagement by recognizing employee accomplishments, removing obstacles, helping employees develop and filling them with a sense of purpose.

But even if you can do all of the above, at the end of the day, it comes down to how motivated and willing your employees are to engage. This is a critical and often missing piece in the engagement equation. But, using an employee selection tool can help you identify if a candidate is more likely to be an engaged or disengaged employee.

Personality Assessments Reveal More Than You Think

The science behind employee engagement is fascinating. Of course you want your candidates to have the ability and knowledge to do the job for which you are hiring. However, our Assessment & Selection experts have found that candidates who take our ADEPT-15® personality assessment and score high on four of the 15 personality aspects—drive, cooperativeness, sensitivity and positivity—are far more likely to be engaged when they become employees than those who don’t score high on them.

According Anthony Boyce, organizational psychologist and product developer at Aon, these aspects predict who will work to overcome obstacles and show commitment to their organization and their teammates.

"Engagement is about more than the environment. Some people are just ’wired for engagement’ and show up every day ready to do their best work, no matter what else is going on around them. For these people, the glass really is always at least half-full," says Boyce.

Eliminate Disengagement Before It Spreads

Assessing your candidates for engagement isn’t an immediate solution for every employee who might be bringing something other than their best to work. However, it will have a strong influence down the road.

Imagine reducing or even eliminating disengagement among your new employees. You would be introducing a shot of positive, problem solving adrenaline into the organization. Engagement is contagious. The veteran employees will notice and it should have an influence on the way they show up to work too.

"Getting hiring right by assessing for engagement will help leaders and organizations prevent the headaches of disengagement later. More CHROs are beginning to understand this has to be part of their talent strategy," says Boyce.

To learn more about Aon’s Culture & Engagement practice, please go to and to learn more about Adept-15 please click here.

Photo: Creative Commons

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