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Quantifying enthusiasm


We are in the process of establishing a skills based assessment for our customer services team to reward the more highly skilled team members for their abilities.

We are very keen to include a measure of enthusiasm, however, we are struggling to quantify it - has anybody ever included a measure of enthusiasm in their compentencies or does anybody have any suggestions as to how we could include such a measure?
Simon Foster

11 Responses

  1. enthusiatic for what?
    You may have already covered this but….
    enthusiasm for what?
    There are many people who are very enthusiastic about their employer (salary, holiday, pension, benefits) but not about their work (useless bosses, long hours, demanding shareholders).

    There are many people who are very enthusiastic about their products (the best, newest, fastest, sexiest) but not about customers (wingeing, demanding, distracting, complaining, unworthy)

    Where your measure is directly linked to reward you are in grave danger of “box ticking”….I am measured on my “smile count”; I smile, therefore I deserve a bonus; but I smile whilst I screw the customer over.

    On a positive note the only suggestion I can offer is a mystery shop/Customer feedback loop that gathers the opinions of the customers the people serve;
    On a scale of 0-5, (0~didn’t care a hoot, to 5~obviously enjoyed providing a great service) how would you rate this person?

    I doubt this helps!


  2. Enthusiasm
    Question – do you really want enthusiastic employees?

    Funeral directors, Doctors, Accident lawyers, French investment bankers and lots of other investment bankers mad keen on packaged investments.

    What are the consequences if these people get too enthusiastic about what they do?

    So that is my starting point. If you have very enthusiastic staff what will be the impact on the business?

    This may seem a silly question but I bet the bosses of the many banks who are now in trouble felt very good about their really enthusiastic investment teams who were egging then onto ever greater profits from bundled US mortgage investments about a year or two ago?

    They probably did not stop to consider the lack of objectivity that often accompanies enthusiasm!

    If you do want enthusiasm and you know what the consequences are going to be, or should be you can measure the consequence you want and manage any negative impact.

    Another view

    Collective representation of the effect / phenomenon.

    When working with managers to set up balanced scorecards there are many things which are not easily measured directly such as enthusiasm, commitment, morale and loyalty.

    Often the solution is to think of the several things that people in the team agree make up that aspect they want to measure so enthusiasm may be an amalgam of:

    Positive feedback from fellow staff
    Positive feedback from customers
    Time keeping
    Additional unpaid hours
    Unsolicited ideas
    Contributions beyond own role (whilst own role is being delivered!)
    Willingness to feedback
    Willingness to recommend others to the business as recruits or customers
    Conversation at lunch times
    Use of corporate merchandise and facilities


  3. Measure Behaviour Instead?
    I think a couple of good questions to ask the people who have framed this subject as necessary in the competency profile is:

    1. What do you observe in terms of actions or conduct in enthusiastic workers that is absent in unenthusiastic workers?

    2. What are the behavioural traits that you would see in an enthusiastic worker which indicate their keenness or passion?

    3. Are you satisfied that an individual demonstrating and practising these ‘enthusiastic’ behaviours achieves better results in the workplace?

    If you can get clear specific responses to 1. and 2. And the answer to 3. is in the affirmative then introduce techniques and methods to encourage and measure these behaviours or practises.

    By doing this you are not actually measuring ‘enthusiasm’ but rather the indicator behaviours you have identified which you associate with that state of mind.

    Unless you’ve got some kind of advanced alien technology to ‘probe’ the human psyche I can’t think how else you can approach this subject.

    You don’t work in Area 51 do you?

  4. Plaiting fog?
    ….a skills based assessment for our customer services team to reward the more highly skilled team members for their abilities.

    If you are measuring skills then I’m not at all sure that enthusiasm is a skill. ie. something you can be incrementally better at.

    You either are enthusiastic or you are not. Anyone who is partially enthusiastic is faking it or not enthusiastic. There is an element of sincerity required to attain ‘true’ enthusiasm which I don’t think can objectively be measured.

    I suggest enthusiasm is a quality.

  5. Enthusiasm is not a competence
    Well said Juliet. Enthusiasm is not a personal competence, it is a personal quality. Competencies can be defined, developed and calibrated. Qualities are all together more unique to the person – one member of the customer service team may be successful because of their empathy, another because of their upbeat personality. They can be spotted, nurtured and acknowledged but I’d be very cautious about trying to measure them.
    As others have suggested, I’d focus the measures on the outputs and outcomes. But I would also argue that the inputs – the combination of competencies and qualities – should still be valued and supported.
    One view is that the right competencies get you from hopeless to adequate. The right qualities get you from adequate to excellent. If that is true, then companies would do well to pay more attention to qualities. Indeed, much of the early work on core (corporate) competencies was around working out what the unique capabilities are in your organisation that are hard to replicate and can give you market advantage.
    If – and that can be a big ‘if’ as others have suggested – the nature of your business really benefits from strong and wide-spread authentic enthusiasm then you are right to give it attention. Notice the word ‘authentic’. This means you cannot force or manufacture it, you have to create the right climate, you have to spark and unleash it, you need to praise and enjoy it, and you need believe in it and model it. Do all that and you won’t need to measure it. My guess is that you will create a great place to work and will attract more enthusiasts too.

  6. Great Quote
    Graham O’Connell wrote: “One view is that the right competencies get you from hopeless to adequate. The right qualities get you from adequate to excellent.”

    That is a great observation Graham and encapsulates both the great strengths and the great weaknesses of the competency framework strategy. Any idea where it originates from?

  7. Enthusiasm – quality, personality or choice?
    What a discussion. We seem to be covering all the bases with this one!

    Is enthusiasm a quality, a behavioural trait or a learned behaviour that can be copied or generated?

    Are some people enthusiastic and some not?

    Can some people who are not enthusiastic about a particular thing (their job for example) become enthusiastic?

    My view is that anyone can become enthusiastic about anything depending on how they view it and what they see as the payoff.

    The key is to assist those unenthused individuals to find their own motivation which usually leads to increased enthusiasm.

    I did this whilst working at a local college with some disaffected students. Once they had identified their own motivation for continuing they found the enthusiasm to get in on time, complete assignments and ultimately pass their course.

    The thing I noticed was that some of them needed to re-find and boost this self motivation at more regular intervals than others.

    Maybe this is the personality trait and not the fact that they are or are not enthusiastic?

    If there are any psychologists out there it would be interesting to have this explained?


  8. try the concept of engagement
    There is something called the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale which measures “vigour” and it sounds like this is what you might find useful.

    Put it into Google and you should get something. It was written (and has been highly tested) byt a man called Schaufeli. You might also find the notes of a session my company ran on engagement helpful, and the link to these (which include some stuff on the UWES)is below. Email if you want more help.

  9. Thanks
    Thank you for your thoughts, i do like to see where threads lead to. I pretty much felt that i was on a hiding to nothing trying to quantify enthusiasm and it would appear that i was correct.

    Good debate! Thanks all.

  10. Disagree
    I’m sorry to have to disagree with you Simon, but something very close to enthusiasm HAS been quantified, as I mentioned below. You’re not “on a hiding to nothing” if you really want to do it.


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