In family dynamics, what is often known as “middle child syndrome” refers to individuals who, because of their birth order, often feel “neglected, resentful, have no drive, have a negative outlook, feel like they don’t belong.” While the idea of a “work family” might be cliché to some, many employees end up feeling the same as a middle child might after their official embedding phase has worn off.

To keep the family analogy going for just a moment more, think of the new employees being embedded as the youngest children, or the babies of the family. They require a lot of attention. On the other end of the spectrum are the employees that have been with the company longer than anyone else. These individuals are the oldest children, or the “first-born,” often feeling entitled but with the leverage they need to get their way.

Everyone else?

They are the dreaded middle children. But, thankfully, there is something management can do to give them, and the others too of course, the attention they need in order to avoid the stereotypical negative effects of “middle child syndrome.”

And it’s as simple as administering intelligent assessments on a regular basis.

To effectively increase employee engagement, and to be sure those middle child employees feel utilized, assessments can be administered to discover exactly what each individual specifically needs. Simply offering raises or bonuses are not enough to keep engagement high in your company. Let alone commitment as there is always greener grass to be found somewhere else.

Because each individual has unique requirements for engagement, talent assessments can reveal exactly what those motivating factors are, which is crucial information not just for the employer, but for the employee as well.

Think of talent assessments as a simple, effective way to create an open dialogue that keeps everyone on the same page, creating an environment and culture that fosters engagement. Talent will feel treated special when feedback and performance reviews are specific, tailored to their needs, challenging and indicating development gaps for them to work on. The fact that this is based on science rather than the personal interpretation and agenda of their manager gives it credibility and extra value.

And, as it turns out, middle children are so much more than their “syndrome” makes them out to be. In fact, researchers have demonstrated that these individuals are “more independent, think outside the box, feel less pressure to conform, and are more empathetic.”

All of which makes for an incredible asset to your company! Throw some science at your talents, it will pay off for sure.

P.S. – First time reading my posts? Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Not only offering faster and easier recruitment solutions, but also for EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT and LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT.

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