Can You Train an Employee to Be Passionate?








*That’s my one-word, arguably cynical answer.  Though my footnote elaboration is that it’s very difficult to convince an employee to be passionate about their job.  It’s like telling someone they should love a certain piece of art. Either your eyes are drawn to the art or not;  either you are passionate or you are not. At best, you will have a B-player and depending on the job that might be OK with you. But this is a major problem for any organization, as dispassionate employees suck the energy out of the room the same way a passionate employee inspires colleagues and customers.  So next time you’re hiring, ask questions that might clue you into what makes them tick, whether they’ve given 110% to a project, what volunteering activities they partake in and why. Read between the lines of the thank-you note they send post-interview.  In today’s economy, where people not machines are what separate great from good companies, it is more important than ever to identify, nurture, promote and encourage passionate people.  As for those who are not passionate but also not dispassionate, they might keep the engines running but they won’t take you as far you need to go.

What do you think – can you train an employee to be passionate?

— Diane Schwartz

Twitter:  @dianeschwartz

  • Larry Thomas

    I don’t think you can train someone to be passionate. It’s an emotion, not a skill. You can manage, train, motivate and reward employees to fuel existing passion.

  • Leah

    As a person who won’t do well at a job unless I am passionate, I know it is hard, if not impossible, to train someone to be passionate. I think you could be so excited about a project, enough to spark the interest of another employee, but to make someone else as passionate as you, I think it would take exterior motives. I believe more than work, the people you work with and the values the company has can heavily influence passion.

  • john faulkner

    I develop and execute large scale events and promotions and have hired hundreds of people over the last three decades. Key staff only are brought on board if they fully understand the client’s needs and goals. All others are vetted, but by their job responsibilities are not expected to be passionate, only professional, polite and of course…show-up on time!

  • http://cmmcommunications Candice

    No! That’s a character trait – not a learned skill.