Why Your Most Engaged Performers Could Be The Most Likely To Leave

Look around your office. Could you identify which people are most content with their jobs and which are considering leaving? The common perception would be that the person who seems to be plodding along and even a little bored would be the most likely candidate to resign. However, a recent study by academics in the UK, US and Germany shows that the opposite may be true.

The study, published in the Career Development International journal, concludes that it is the employees who are the most motivated and productive that could be the most likely to leave the company rather than those that appear disengaged. It may be surprising to learn that it could be your most engaged performers that you are most likely to lose. The reason behind this conclusion is that levels of high engagement can result in stress and burnout which in turn lead to a ‘pathway leading into disengagement’, according to an article published by the University of Cambridge.

It should be noted that the survey recognised that there is a distinction between healthy levels of engagement and those that can result in exhaustion and burnout. Participants responded to a number of questions focused on areas that included engagement, resources, demands and burnout.

“These findings are a big challenge to organisations and their management,” said Dr Jochen Menges, Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at Cambridge Judge Business School. “By shedding light on some of the factors in both engagement and burnout, the study can help organisations identify workers who are motivated but also at risk of burning out and leaving.”

The dangers of exhaustion and fatigue amongst employees are concerning and prevalent in the workplace. It is eye-opening to discover that it could be the most unlikely candidates that could end up burnt out and leaving a company as they’re at the end of their tether.

Gauge The Feelings Amongst Your Staff – Understand The Culture & Climate Of Your Teams

Could you recognise the most ‘at risk’ members of your team? If you want to improve staff retention and identify if you have a culture and team climate that raises the risk of people leaving the organisation, we at PCS can help. Our diagnostic tools reveal the climate (or culture) amongst teams and will highlight and clarify underlying issues. Our system goes beyond a mere measurement of engagement; the insights gained from PCS reports can enable you to transform your teams and boost performance significantly. You can identify a tangible ROI such as staff retention and improved output.

So rather than making assumptions about people’s feelings and intentions, get the data to inform your decisions. You may be surprised by the results.

Ref: Julia Moeller et al. ‘Highly engaged but burned out: intra-individual profiles in the US workforce.’ Career Development International (2018). 

Zac's Challenges:

Zac’s tech business is growing rapidly. He’s gone from being a developer with a good idea to now overseeing an ever-expanding team. Zac knows that in order for the business to grow successfully, it needs to stay true to its founding values and his staff need to feel valued and engaged. Zac wants to understand if he and his team are on the same page and he needs to do it quickly and cost effectively.

Zac's PCS Solution

Zac decides to use PCS Lite to get a quick temperature check of how his team are performing and what they think about the business. The PCS Lite report quickly surfaces the fact that his team have lost sight of the organisation’s purpose and goals. Zac realises that he needs to improve his on-boarding processes and help orientate the new team members better in the company culture and vision. 6 months later, Zac uses PCS Lite to check his new onboarding process is working; concludes that the growing team are much better aligned to his vision and are generally operating in a more positive working environment.

Annabel's Challenges:

It’s Annabel’s job to help the Partners in the firm manage their clients and ensure they’re consistently adding value. Recently, Annabel has been asked by one of the Partners to find a tool or framework that the consultants can use to benchmark new clients looking for team and leadership improvement programmes. It needs to be cost-effective, established and reputable and able to be branded with the firm’s own logo.

Annabel's PCS Solution

Annabel recommends PCS Pro to the Senior Partners as it provides an objective measurement of team and leadership climate against which the consultants can build performance improvement programmes. PCS has a good track record, academic validation, excellent training and customer service, so she’s confident that it’s the right tool for the firm’s consultants to use.

Sarah's Challenges:

Sarah has to keep across the multiple training and development needs in the organisation and do it within a tight budget. Recently, Sarah’s been asked to design a L&D programme that improves the staff retention rate and helps staff feel more engaged with the changes happening in the organisation, not least the shift to more flexible working.

Sarah's PCS Solution

Sarah uses PCS to measure how different teams across the organisation are performing and look at any patterns which suggest the need for organisation-wide, leader or team training. Sarah notices that all teams and leaders have a low climate score in the Processes segment. Sarah knows that allocating budget in this area will improve performance. She works with the Senior Management Team to review the organisation’s processes as they transition to more flexible working and designs a training programme to support staff in the transition. She’s helped staff to feel supported, acknowledged and engaged which ultimately drives performance. 

Jim's Challenges:

Jim’s client has a team that’s not performing as well other teams in the organisation. The team has a high staff turnover, sickness and the lack of cohesion is impacting the team’s wellbeing and performance. Jim needs to get to the bottom of why this is happening and design effective coaching interventions which can generate tangible results for his client.

Jim's PCS Solution

Jim uses PCS Pro to measure / benchmark how the team and leader are performing across the 6 segments critical to team performance – Goals, Roles, Processes, Adaptability, Connection and Resilience. He can immediately see the disparity in Goals, Processes and Connection between the leader’s perception and those of her team. He uses this information to build a coaching programme designed align team and leader. After 6 months, the team seems to be more settled and productive. Jim remeasures using PCS Pro – the results show the client the effectiveness of his coaching intervention.