4 Types of Employees Every Leader Must Know


In today’s workplace of constant change it’s critical that managers and leaders understand the various types of employees in order to cultivate an environment that inspires them to perform their best. While personality style training like DISC, True Colors, and Meyers Briggs can offer insight into how employees will act and behave typically in the workplace, understanding why and how their actions impact performance is essential to increasing their engagement.

Based on our research of over 20,000 managers, supervisors and business leaders, we have placed employees into four distinct categories based on the three levels of engagement; engaged, satisfied and disengaged. Employee engagement is defined as “the strength of emotional connection and devotion people have to an organization.” An engaged employee is one who is fully committed and enthusiastic about investing his or her full and best effort at work. A satisfied employee is like a “workplace zombie” doing just enough to get by, with no ownership or vested interest in their job. A disengaged employee can infect others with negativity, deliver poor customer service and become toxic to a team, surprisingly, they can also meet expectations but display undesirable behaviors that make it hard to terminate them.

Types of Employees

Below are the four types of employees and how to increase their level of engagement:

The Passionate Employee
Motto: “I love what I do”
Percentage of staff: 20 percent

Performance behaviors:

Highly committed to day to day work, team, manager and organization. Energetic and excited about vision. Personal values aligned with organization’s values. Delivers extra effort, has an innovative mentality (stays late, arrives early, asks to help others, and takes ownership and initiative). Often meets and exceeds expectations.

How to increase/maintain engagement:
Delegate effectively. Provide growth opportunities in the form of new tasks, challenging assignments, training, and mentorship, to prevent burnout and maintain loyalty.

The Professional Employee
Motto: “I’m here to work not make friends”
Percentage of staff: 10 percent

Performance behaviors:
Their self-interest trumps team/shared purpose. Committed to daily work for individual reasons. Performs regardless of feelings and often meets or exceeds expectations. Focused on individual ambitions and career goals. Prefers individual tasks and responsibilities. Disengaged from the team due to lack of respect for team members skill sets, work ethic, or lackluster leadership.

How to increase engagement:
Praise and recognize the team first and individuals second to send the right message. Channel their self-interest into positive direction by connecting individual performance to team results. Highlight and recognize team member strengths to cultivate environment of respect. Challenge them to develop team members and emphasize cross training to create an iron-sharpens-iron team environment.

The Paycheck Employee
Motto: “It’s just a job”
Percentage of staff: 50 percent

Performance behaviors:
Only reason for coming to work is to just to receive a pay check. Neither fully committed nor uncommitted to daily work, direct manager, team and organization. Performs just enough to get by. Goes through the motions with tasks and duties. Does not see any connection between personal and professional goals with job duties and typically meets basic expectations.

How to increase engagement:
Involve them. Constantly communicate the vision and purpose behind their work. Explain why we do what we do. Tell stories of success and make it compelling. Frequently ask for their input, feedback and allow them to contribute to how work is done. Remember, people tend not to destroy that which they help create. Provide genuine praise and recognition to show you care. Ask them; what are the two most important things in life to them? So you understand their fundamental motivation.

The Problem Employee
Motto: “They don’t care and neither do I”
Percentage of staff: 20 percent

Performance behaviors:
Highly uncommitted to work, direct manager, team, and organization. Demonstrates undesirable behaviors. Instead of quitting and leaving, many have quit and stayed! Only 20 percent of workforce but can cause up to 50 percent of workplace conflicts. Typically harbor unresolved conflicts and their bitterness creates an unhealthy work environment. Tend to meet the bare minimum performance expectations which make them difficult to terminate. May reference litigation when pressured to change behavior or when attempting to terminate.

How to increase engagement:
Be very specific on how their behaviors impact performance and the team. Ask them for their input. Actively listen and appreciate their concerns. Make them aware of their potential, but be genuine not manipulative. If they are displaying negative behavior ask them for alternative ways to express their concerns. Allow them opportunities to vent to prevent passive-aggressive blow ups. Positively reinforce any progress or change toward the desired behaviors.

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140924092532-36949259-4-types-of-employees-every-leader-must-know

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