Defining and Measuring Employee Engagement

Defining and Measuring Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is generally defined as a positive, fulfilled state of the employee regarding their work and their organization. Employee engagement is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption in work-related activities. Unsurprisingly, employee engagement connects with many desirable outcomes, including high performance, overall positive attitudes, better mental health, and increased innovation. If employees are not engaged, they tend to burn out and disconnect from their work.

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Are Managers Motivated to Give Accurate Performance Ratings?

Are Managers Motivated to Give Accurate Performance Ratings?

Research has highlighted three key non-performance factors that can distort the performance ratings managers give to their employees.1 While rating subordinates, managers consider the negative consequences that can occur when providing accurate ratings, the organizational norms surrounding how they are supposed to rate, and the potential of fulfilling self-interests. These three factors add to the complexity of how managers are motivated to rate, and they lend support to the idea that managers are not always motivated to rate their subordinates accurately.

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Terminating for Undocumented Poor Performance: What Are Your Options?

Terminating for Undocumented Poor Performance: What Are Your Options?

There are many situations in which an employer would like an employee to be relieved of their duties but the situations do not necessarily present a well-documented, policy-violated, fireable offense. These situations, if acted upon incorrectly, could make the organization vulnerable to a lawsuit. This is probably a situation that many HR professionals would like to avoid at any and all costs.

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Performance Improvement Plan Checklist

Performance Improvement Plan Checklist

The idea of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) can be a daunting one for both the employee being put on the plan as well as for the individual (in the majority of cases, the immediate supervisor) being asked to design and implement the plan. Often used as the last step in a progressive disciplinary process, for the employee, a PIP can feel like it’s just a long winded way to get rid of them.

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4 Types of Social Styles: How They Create a Versatile Workplace

4 Types of Social Styles: How They Create a Versatile Workplace

The Social Style Model (TRACOM Group) is an interpersonal skills effectiveness model that designates patterns of behavior in the workplace. Organizations and training professionals can utilize the model to demonstrate how others perceive a person’s behavior, and to improve individuals’ relationship-building performance by being aware of the unique social styles of those around them.

This model is based on two behavioral dimensions:

1. Assertiveness is the degree to which an individual asks questions versus makes statements. Those low on the assertiveness scale tend to make requests (more asking), while others higher on the assertiveness spectrum make demands (more telling).

2. Responsiveness refers to how individuals express emotions. People low on the responsiveness scale tend to exert high self-control over their emotional displays, and those high on the responsiveness spectrum are more emotionally expressive.  

The combination of these two dimensions forms the four types of Social Style.

The 4 Social Styles explained:

  1. Amiable individuals prefer to ask questions rather than give orders, and feel at ease expressing their emotions.
  2. Analytical individuals control their emotions to a high degree and also prefer to inquire rather than make demands.
  3. Driving individuals display high emotional control and are highly assertive, so they are comfortable with giving orders.
  4. Expressive individuals feel comfortable expressing their emotions and are also highly assertive.

There is no “best” social style, because each style has both positive and negative characteristics.

Why do Social Styles matter? The role of versatility

Recognition of Social Style has many benefits, as being able to identify others’ social preferences allows you to be more versatile in the workplace. Awareness of Social Style can enhance several dimensions that are crucial to success at work, including teamwork, conflict management, communications, sales performance, and leadership performance. For example, managers with higher versatility perform better at leading teams, coaching others, and are more likely to be promoted.

Understanding the social styles of your coworkers and leaders helps you modify your behavior and respond to others in appropriate ways based on their unique style. This can lead to more effective interactions in any social setting, particularly in the workplace.

ERC provides SOCIAL STYLE training that improves skills & improves performance.

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3 Guidelines When Terminating an Employee

Unfortunately, some employees don't work out - their behavior or poor performance escalates and they eventually need to be terminated. Many organizations have questions about properly carrying out terminations, including what to do to address the problem, when it's appropriate to terminate an employee, and how they facilitate the termination itself. Here are 3 guidelines when terminating an employee.

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5 Common Management Challenges

Communication, management of conflict and performance, and management of potential liabilities are all challenges managers experience. Here are some practical ways to deal with these common management challenges and support and develop your managers.


Managers are frequently not aware of the quality of their communication about expectations, changes, procedures, and other work-related issues, or how their communication or interpersonal style is perceived by their employees. Help managers understand their unique communication and interpersonal style and how to “flex” this style in different situations. Provide managers with communication templates, scripts, tips, or checklists. Engage in role-play or dialogue with the manager to help them practice their skills and identify opportunities for improvement. Additionally, educate managers on common communication breakdowns and how to avoid them and encourage managers to notice signs of communication problems (misunderstandings, consistent performance problems, etc.). When all else fails, provide a personal coach if communication problems persist

Resolve conflict.

Many managers ignore problems and do not address conflicts with their employees or work team directly. Whether these are performance problems, conflicts among team members, issues of trust, or personality clashes, managers are challenged to confront and address problems head-on and as they emerge, diffuse employees’ feelings and emotions about the problem, listen to both parties’ needs and desires, derive win-win solutions that lead to more productive and positive work relations, and prevent conflict in the future by nurturing positive coworker relationships and recognizing potential for conflict or problems early.

Manage performance.

Managers must balance meeting goals, managing workloads, and motivating employees. These issues coupled with the fact that many managers are ill-equipped to provide regular and constructive feedback and may not understand the importance of documenting performance can make managing performance challenging. To support them, build on-going performance feedback into the performance management process to ensure accountability. Create an easy method for managers to document performance like a database, log, or diary. Provide support tools for managers such as rewards, recognition, training, and development to recognize and build performance. Most importantly, train managers in topics such as performance management, coaching, and feedback since many will have had no experience with these.

Handle protected employees.

Most managers are not well-versed in administering ADA, FMLA, and other laws that protect certain groups of employees, but unknowingly find themselves managing an employee that requires an accommodation, leave of absence, or falls into a protected class. These situations need to be handled delicately due to their legal nature, so make managers aware of:

  • Legal basics such as conditions or disabilities that are protected
  • How to determine essential functions and reasonable accommodations
  • Requirements associated with FMLA (eligibility, length of time, etc.)
  • Types of employees that are protected under law (gender, race, national origin, etc.)
  • Hiring and interviewing liabilities (questions to ask/not ask, etc.)

Administer policies fairly and consistently.

One of the most common challenges for managers is treating employees fairly and consistently. A manager may allow policies and rules to be disregarded by some employees and not others – or may disregard employment policies altogether. “Stretching” the rules for some employees can open up a range of potential liabilities and perceptions of bias and favoritism that have negative far-reaching affects in the workplace. Be sure to write clear policies and let managers know when changes have been made. Set clear criteria for making employment decisions, particularly where managers need to distinguish between employees (recognition, reward, development, etc.). Also, clearly differentiate between the policies in which managers have discretion to implement and those in which they do not.

Addressing these management challenges sooner then later can prevent your organization from experiencing many problems and liabilities. It’s never too early to ensure that your supervisors and managers have the skills, tools, and support to do their jobs effectively, so if your supervisor is just starting out, consider developing these important skills as soon as possible.

Additional Resources

Supervisory Series
In the series, participants will gain an understanding of their role as a supervisor as well as employment law as it relates to common supervisory issues. They will also learn how to apply basic managerial and interpersonal skills including dealing with the everyday challenges of being a supervisor, communicating effectively with others, resolving workplace conflict, managing performance, and coaching. Click here to register or click here to learn how we can bring this training on-site to your organization.

Strategic Legal Update
Stay up to date on all of the most recent law and policy news with our blog

Coaching & Performance Management Services
ERC offers a full range of services to support your organization’s performance management activities. We also offer one-on-one coaching services to help your build and develop your manager’s skills. For more information about these services, please contact

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