Recognize This! – It’s not “engagement” if it’s not freely and willingly given.
What exactly is “employee engagement?” Most definitions I see somehow
reference “discretionary effort.” But my latest favorite definition of employee engagement comes from the HR Capitalist, Kris Dunn:
“Discretionary effort that you don’t have to threaten someone to get.”
I’m fairly certain you can’t call it “engagement” if you have to
threaten to get it. Perhaps “enslavement” or “enforcement,” but
definitely not “engagement.”
This idea is an extreme extension of managers “making” employees feel engaged, an idea Lonnie Wilson debunked in a recent Industry Week article.
Lonnie also pointed out focusing on helping employees want to do the
job and do it better is not the best use of resources to help employees
engage. Instead managers should make sure employees understand what they
need to do to accomplish the job, they have the appropriate skills and
training to execute the work appropriately, and they have the necessary
resources. Without those factors in place, it’s nearly guaranteed that
your employees will not be engaged in their work.
Perhaps the most important question is what, precisely, are you
asking employees to engage with? Indeed, you want them to “do the job.”
But does that job – and the employee’s understanding of it – link up
with what you are trying to achieve overall in your business?
Recent TNS research pointed out how significant the challenge is for supervisors and leaders to align business objectives with employees’ engagement efforts:
“’TNS analysis on employee engagement reports a 52
percent gap in operating costs between companies with highly engaged
employees to companies with low engagement scores,’” says Mike
Schroeder, Chief Executive Officer of TNS Employee Insights. …
“Senior consultants at TNS identified four specific steps for
organizations to capitalize on the economic value of employee engagement
- Link employee engagement to business objectives and measures of effectiveness
- Invest in employee programs specifically designed to increase engagement and that support business objectives
- Establish a system of measuring engagement and the effectiveness of these programs
- Make adjustments based on the discernible results”
As I discussed last week in a webinar with BlessingWhite (recording available here),
it’s not enough to implement employee engagement programs or run
employee engagement surveys. You must be willing to take action and,
critically, measure results. It’s the only way to align engagement
efforts with what matters to your CEO: bottom-line results.
4 Apr 2012 1:54 PM
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