Hiring bad staff? Employee engagement is a priceless commodity.

There are no bad employees; just disengaged ones. I can comfortably say in 11 years of owning my business that I have never hired a bad employee. This is not to say that I was never in a situation where I needed to let someone go because of their performance, because of poor quality of work, or because they were disengaged, disgruntled, or destructive. It is to say, however, that no employee starts a new job planning to be a poor performer or “water-cooler-complainer.” Many fine people end up as “bad staff” because they do not know their purpose in the organization and/or they do not care about it.

People want jobs that they truly love.

I often say, “I started Look because I couldn’t find a job that I truly liked.” That did not make me a bad employee—I was just a bad fit for some of my previous jobs. I don’t want you to think that I was a slacker, but my passion was not the same at those jobs as it is now. The reason for it is not because this job is easy or fun but because, at Look, I know what the purpose of my work is and how I contribute to it.

Just like myself, every person wants to have a job that they love and care about passionately.

Why establish a well-managed employee engagement program?

In my experience, most companies put exorbitant amounts of effort in the wrong areas when it comes to inspiring staff. They focus on the things and not the people they work with. They waste time and money on pinball machines, company picnics, more days off, and more sick days. While these initiatives are well intended, all they do is provide employees with a break from their everyday duties. The only way to maintain this system is to continue to give employees more days off or more sick days. It is an endless cycle.

Can employee engagement be bought?

In short, no. It can’t. Over the past few years, I have observed employees through business coaching and consulting who are engaged, and those who are just punching in the clock and coasting in the office.


People working in start-ups, charities, or military service are usually poorly compensated, their work is extremely difficult (sometimes even dangerous), yet employee engagement is also extremely high.


Organizations with worker unions, excellent wages, six-week vacations, and unlimited sick time, see employees punch out early, take extended leaves from work, and produce the minimum required amount of work (waiting for their early retirement packages).

Observing this stark contrast leads me to believe that we cannot “buy” engagement.

Attempting to purchase employee engagement only works for a short time. After that, we need to give higher wages or more sick and vacation days, to keep the system going. The leadership coaching we do at Look helps to turn this around by encouraging our clients to focus on purpose.

What makes an organization engaging?

In organizations where every employee clearly understands the purpose of the organization and how their work fits into it, employees are happy with their work. Once people are invested passionately, know the cause they are working towards, and how their work contributes, they do not need extra days off to remain satisfied.


  • Have a clearly defined purpose?
  • Have a three to five year vision?
  • Have a one year business plan commitments?
  • Communicate that purpose, vision and commitments to every employee?
  • Performance development program to help employees see how they contribute to the vision?
  • Coaching and mentoring to help employees achieve their goals?

To see your staff captivated by what they do, it is important to create a clear definition of the purpose of their organization and define the long-term and short-term vision for it. Once defined, that foundation will serve as a guide to developing every job description. This system will allow every person in an organization to clearly understand how they matter to the success of the whole.

Helping employees think like owners:

Ready to learn more? Zlatan loves to help employees think like owners and see them get invested into the work they do. Would you like him to do a workshop or speak at a public event?

Book Zlatan Now

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