Top performer or simply engaged ?

Motivation 03

I was recently attending a business event and I was conversing with a gentleman who happened to be the head of human resources of his company, he was sharing with me that among his employees 15 percents were top performers.  I happened to have in mind the statistics by Gallup[1] of the level of  employees engagement worldwide (13 percents) and I was struck by how similar these two figures were …

Could it be that top performers are not always exceptionally skilled but simply more motivated individuals ? Could motivation be the main lever to efficiency  ? It is commonly agreed that a motivated person performs better but then why are on average four-fifths of employees not engaged worldwide ?

The answer may partly lie in the fact that when hiring or evaluating employees the focus is mainly on skills. Simply think about a typical hiring process assessing diplomas, past experience, professional references, trainings, knowledge, abilities, mental preferences, IQ[2] and sometimes EQ[3], … Same type of things for the yearly evaluation with the “what” and the “how”. Motivation is rarely in scope, here is why: if skills assessment is (relatively) factual and tangible, assessing motivation is not.

Another part of the answer lies in the fact that the proportion of disengaged people – a staggering 85 % ! – is too high for the causes to be specific  to each individual, there necessarily exists some company historical and environmental causes. Increasing a company  overall efficiency implies to accept this idea.

Employees engagement has a direct and substantial influence on a company overall efficiency and consequently one of the paths of choice to improve a company functioning is to:

  1. Evaluate the level of motivation of its employees
  2. Understand the historical and environmental causes responsible of this high proportion of disengagement
  3. Identify who is engaged and who is not.

What is important to remember is that a minority of a company’s employees is actually motivated and that these individuals are the foundation of company’s efficiency. It is crucial to keep and empower them so they can influence and motivate others.



[1] Worldwide, 13% of Employees Are Engaged at Work,
[2] IQ, wikipedia
[3] EQ, wikipedia

Leave a Reply