Britain’s got talent – energise it!

Watching the contestants on ITV’s final week of Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) reminded me of one of the aspects of work engagement: energy.  Those who performed well and received praise from the judges happily beamed on the stage, moved with excitement and spoke with enthusiasm.  Appearing on stage positively invigorated them.

In the workplace, engaged employees are invigorated.  When this high energy is combined with positive emotions and moods the outcome is motivation, creative and innovative behaviours, helping co-workers and spreading goodwill.  Whilst some people, due to their genetic predispositions, personality traits and socio-demographic circumstances might have more energy than others, the good news is that most people have the capacity to feel energised in the work environment.  There are several ways this can be achieved – through leadership style, facilitating trust and social support, and encouraging positive interactions with others.  In addition, staff can be invigorated with three specific job characteristics – and these are what the contestants on BGT demonstrated so well.

Task identity – is the ability to complete a task from start to finish.  In BGT, the contestants had beaten other competitors through the qualifying rounds to take their place in the final, where they each had just a few minutes each to finish what they had begun several months earlier.

Task significance – is about how meaningful the person perceives the task to be.  In BGT, performing in the finals of the competition meant so much to the contestants.  It was a highly significant event for them.  They believed it could launch their careers in show business, enable them to do something they love and value, and indeed change their lives forever.

Feedback – feedback from a supervisor on the effectiveness of an employee’s work helps the employee recognise when they have achieved the success they sought.  In BGT, the judges and the audience took the place of the supervisor.  When the judges praised the performances and the audience cheered and applauded loudly, the contestants’ nervous energy was quickly replaced with visible excitement and pleasure.

Of course you don’t need a talent show to invigorate the talent in your organisation, simply allow staff to finish what they start, find out what’s meaningful to them, and learn to give them positive and constructive feedback so they can feel a sense of success.  If you would like more help or advice on how to energise your talent, please contact gill@unisonmedia.co.uk     



Shirom, A. (2010). Feeling energetic at work: on vigor’s antecedents.  In: Bakker, A.B & Leiter, M.P. (Eds.). Work engagement: A handbook of essential theory and research (pp. 69-84).  Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press.

talkbackTHAMES and SYCOtv (Producers).  (June 2011).  Britain’s Got Talent (Television series). UK: ITV.


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