I’ve Been Thinking: IsThe Impact of Employee Engagement Work Overrated?

 Today’s headline is intended to provoke you to thought as well as action. Like anything that gets too familiar I fear that there has been a loss of the power in our national/international conversations around employee engagement.

(Yes, that’s me in the picture, as I see myself!)

So why would I be concerned? After all, we now have an Employee Engagement Network with over 2600 members internationally. Three years ago this on-line community did not exist. For those who might consider themselves “employee engagement professionals” this news would seem to be immediately exciting. But I wonder?

Is it possible that many of us, far more even than are represented by this rush to join The Employee Engagement Network are much more enamored of our own involvement in the subject of employee engagement then we are at being effective at it, i.e., are we making any difference?

  • Who, other than companies selling consulting services is offering to produce employee engagement surveys?
  • When Employee Engagement conferences are convened is the audience the choir being preached to?
  • How involved are “C” level people in your organization with the topic of employee engagement?
  • Have measures of Employee Engagement been adopted by senior management as key leading indicators for your business and the likelihood of its future success?

Yes, I know, I am sounding like a party pooper and my blog title is… The Heart of Engagement. You might think I’d be more chipper !

 Honestly, much of my skepticism at the moment is feigned since I do think a lot of good work is being done by many thousands of committed professional. However, when I see an article like this one, “Employee engagement needs to be high on the agenda when resources are limited” published this month by HR Magazine in the UK I am reminded that it is still much too soon to be patting ourselves on the back for a job well done. If this type of article (just about as basic as you can get) is being published in June of 2010 in a publication of this stature then we are still at the very beginning of the transformation of our places of work.

There is no question in my mind that the transformation of the workplace cannot be left to “the professionals” alone. We need a revolution sooner rather than later. This is an ‘all hands on deck’ scenario and so I have a challenge for each of you reading this week.

Take a look at this link: “The surprising truth about what motivates us”…now

  • Share the connected video with your work group. It is about 11 minutes long. Surely you can spare 11 minutes to make a difference in your work group! Well maybe a bit more than 11 minutes, leave room for at least a half hour dialogue after you watch the video. Observe and listen to how your co-workers respond. I don’t think you’ll be surprised, maybe moved by the depth of their passion, including their skepticism. What action are they inspired to take?
  • If you get the kind of response I expect from your immediate group take the video to the next level of management in your organization. Don’t just email it to them, ask for an audience and watch the video together, stick around for a 20 to 30 minute dialogue. What action are they inspired to take?
  • If you get the kind of response I expect from the next level of management and you are emboldened by your experience see if you can get a 30 minute meeting with a senior level manager with the promise to share something that has the potential to effect the bottom line for years to come.

If you get this far I think you’ll know what to do next…good luck and let me know how it goes! 



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