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Thu, Aug 5, 2010

Talent Strategies

3 Levels of Employee Engagement: From Cheerleader To Vampire

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Guest Post by Kevin Sheridan, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Consultant of HR Solutions, Inc.

When it comes to Employee Engagement, there are three types of employees in the workplace: “Cheerleaders,” Ambivalent employees, and “Vampires.”  Understanding these levels of Engagement and how they affect one another is essential to managing an Engaged and productive workforce.

Engaged Employees, aka Cheerleaders:

-Go above and beyond, frequently doing more than what is asked of them

-Net promoters – they proudly represent and promote the company’s brand

-Passionate about the mission, vision and values of their organization

-Have awareness and personal commitment to their Engagement level

Ambivalent Employees:

-Not apt to “going the extra mile”, they do what is asked of them and nothing more

-Rarely, if ever, volunteer for extra assignments or take lead roles

-Lower energy and lackluster performance on assignments

-Can often feel unappreciated or unimportant

Actively Disengaged Employees, aka Vampires:

-Negative attitude about their employer and job duties

-Malcontent, often openly showing their distaste while on the job

-Focus on problems

-Behavior and actions will cause more harm than good

Managing the Spread of Engagement Levels

People are often influenced by those around them, and the workplace is no exception. Although managers cannot completely control the spread of Engagement levels at their organization, they can make decisions that will promote an increase in Employee Engagement.

Ambivalent employees are the most easily influenced by their co-workers’ Engagement levels, so pairing them with Engaged employees for group projects and assignments is a great tactic to increase Engagement.  Engaged employees generally enjoy being leaders and mentors, and will set a great example for Ambivalent employees to take personal ownership of their Engagement level.

As shown in the cartoon, Actively Disengaged employees can be toxic to other employees, especially those who are Ambivalent.  Managers should also be aware that these vampire-like employees can quickly suck positivity from co-workers if given the chance.

Actively Disengaged employees should be worked with individually to see if raising their Engagement level is possible.  If not, management should consider transitioning them out of the organization.  In order to protect the workplace environment from negativity, sometimes it can be best to simply get rid of the source of the problem.

Identifying Employee Engagement levels and how they affect one another is crucial for heading down the path to organizational success.  Creating a workplace environment where cheerleaders thrive and vampires disappear should always be a management priority.


About the Author: Kevin Sheridan is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Consultant of HR Solutions, Inc. and directs all survey work conducted by the firm.  He has extensive experience in the field, having co-founded three successful survey-related organizations. Mr. Sheridan received a Masters in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in June 1988, concentrating his degree in Managerial Decision-making and Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior.

Prior to business school, Mr. Sheridan spent four years with the Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A. in New York City, London, and Japan.  As Relationship Manager and Second Vice President, he directed Chase’s business relationships with 37 Japanese banks and trading companies and eight Australian banks. Mr. Sheridan has done consulting for some of the world’s largest corporations and has earned several distinctive awards and honors.  One of his most notable recognitions was for the creation of HR360, which won Human Resource Executive Magazine’s HR Product of the Year Award.  He is a frequent speaker at national and international conventions, and his work has appeared in many different mediums. He is also an avid volunteer.


Check out Kevin’s #monsterlive HR Event, Selecting Candidates for Engagement and Retention.  This webinar examines real ways to measure quality of hire and impact the value of talent on an organization:

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