I’m a sponsored blog partner with Spherion (a staffing and recruiting organization) and am participating in the release of findings from Spherion’s 2014 Emerging Workforce Study.  All opinions are mine.

Employee engagement continues to surface as a hot topic in research on trends that impact the workplace. That’s what I homed in on when reviewing results from Spherion’s latest research project, the Emerging Workforce Study 2014. This study, which was conducted by Harris Interactive, has been ongoing for over 15 years. Over the years, Spherion has examined the issues and trends that affect the employment “life cycle.” The employment life cycle (noted below) includes attraction, recruitment, engagement, retention, advocacy and leadership.

Employment Life Cycle



More than 2,000 workers and 230 human resource managers were surveyed on their opinions and attitudes around critical workplace topics such as recruitment, employee engagement, job satisfaction, retention, employee advocacy, social media use, generational differences and work/life balance.

Not surprisingly, it’s in the “leadership” portion of the life cycle that my interest lies. Spherion’s research uncovered (and, in some cases, supports previous evidence for) trends that HR managers and business leaders would be smart to heed.

As you might expect, there’s a connection between employee engagement and a company’s mission. (See the “Engagement” section that’s excerpted from the full infographic.) Employees who self-identified as “highly engaged” in their work agreed that their company follows through on its mission. There was also a connection between how well the company communicates its mission and how “engaged” employees reported feeling.

Engagement Spherion graphic


On a gut level, this makes sense – employees who are aligned with a mission would also feel more “engaged” in their work. Conversely, employees who are mentally “checked out” or doubt the company’s mission reported lower levels of engagement.

Which raises an interesting question: does one state of being produce the other? Is an employee that is not that interested (or emotionally connected to) the company’s mission going to naturally feel less “engagement” than those who are strongly connected to the organizational goals and purpose? This has implications for the “recruitment” portion of the life cycle: you’d better hire people who are aligned to the goal, or it’s an uphill (or, depending on how you look at it, downhill) battle from the get-go.

These types of research studies provide a fascinating window into the inner workings of both an employer’s culture and employees’ thinking regarding their place of employment. While none of these statistics should be taken that THE final truth, they can certainly help HR managers and company leaders bridge any gaps between company goals employees’ perceptions of their workplace.

See the Spherion’s full infographic here: Spherion EWS Employment Life Cycle Infographic (first 3 phases)

Want more information on the Emerging Workforce study? You can see information from past EWS studies here. You can also follow Spherion on Twitter (hashtag #EWS2014) or join them on Facebook.

Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers (like yours truly) for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. I was free to form my own opinions about the data supplied by Spherion and all opinions are my own. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.



Do Job-Seekers Have Rights?

October 27, 2014

Do job-seekers who work with recruiters or staffing agencies have “rights”? It’s an interesting premise. Recruiting firm The Wunderland Group even goes so far as to propose a job-seeker’s “Bill of Rights”. I like the spirit of this infographic — as a job seeker, you should know your worth and understand the process of working […]

Read the full article →

Social Intelligence – It’s Hardly Ever About You

October 23, 2014

It’s hardly ever about you. That’s a key take-away I gleaned from GRAPE’s October presenter, leadership coach Tamara Rosier, who spoke about “Social Intelligence: What it Is and Why It Matters”. Now, you might think that I’m talking about selfishness (or selflessness) but in the context of social intelligence, it’s really about how much we […]

Read the full article →

When Leaders Should Take a Tough Line

October 16, 2014

What should a leader do when a team member just doesn’t quite “fit” with the company culture? That’s the question I address in this month’s Smartblog on Leadership article. It really boils down to leadership “tough love” – you can’t make excuses for direct reports who almost adhere to the organization’s values. Smartbrief’s leadership newsletter […]

Read the full article →

Career Advice from HR Answers.com

October 13, 2014

For the month of September, the focus of my HR Answers page was “Careers”. Do you have a desire to move forward in your career, or even just get more out of the job you have now? Here are three articles that offer career-building tips:     First up, it’s Boost Your Career with these […]

Read the full article →

Zen of Jen: Who are You Really Talking To?

October 9, 2014

Ever read any self-help books? If so, you’re most likely familiar with the term “self-talk” which, as its name suggests, is the act of talking to oneself. There’s negative self-talk (“I’m such an idiot – why did I do that?”) and positive self-talk (“I am excellent at giving professional presentations”). Personally, I’ve done my share […]

Read the full article →

29 Essays on How to Develop Leaders

October 7, 2014

Mary Ila Ward of Horizon Point Consulting is the host of this month’s Leadership Development Carnival. The carnival, which was started by Dan McCarthy of the Great Leadership blog, takes an occasional road trip. This month, it’s at Mary’s blog “The Point Blog.” Twenty nine leadership bloggers  contributed to the carnival with thoughts on: –  Managing the […]

Read the full article →

You Aren’t a Perfect Leader. But Your People Still Expect It.

October 6, 2014

If you’ve ever held a leadership position, you’ve probably already figured this out: you are held to a higher standard. You are expected to be more. More authentic, more compassionate and most importantly, more ethical than the average working Joe or Jane in your office. Your daily actions are intensely scrutinized. Author S. Chris Edmonds, […]

Read the full article →

How to Create a Pocket of Excellence – Even if You Live in the Weird House

October 2, 2014

Being a leader is tough enough. And when you add a toxic workplace culture? Downright demoralizing. When I interviewed Chris Edmonds for his latest book The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace, we had a very interesting discussion about how leaders can excel even when working in a […]

Read the full article →

Driving Culture Change: An Interview with @scedmonds

September 30, 2014

Helping leaders drive positive culture change is a life-long passion for workplace consultant S. Chris Edmonds. Chris’ latest book, The Culture Engine, lays out a road map that will help any leader–from top executive to frontline supervisor–completely overhaul or simply refine their existing workplace culture. Recently, Chris and I chatted about his new book. Here […]

Read the full article →