MORE: The Richness of Multiple Employee Engagement Definitions

Employee Engagement: No need to stay single!

Define love. I am miffed at the criticism and pleas for a single definition of employee engagement. Often people dismiss the field because of a lack of a single definition. Do these same people dismiss love because of a lack of a single definition?

Rich diversity. There is richness in the diversity of definitions. We get to see many angles and viewpoints on employee engagement from the robust business case and performance numbers to retention issues and workplace happy dances.  What we need is more clarity about how people are using the term rather than forcing agreement on a single definition.

Let’s argue. It is enriching to have conversations and disagreements — this is how employee engagement will mature and grow and branch out. We do not need a “one-trunk tree” of employee engagement devoid of branches.

Operational clarity. What I would like to see is more operational definitions of the term so that when someone talks about employee engagement we can determine specifically what they mean. We can argue and quibble about the operational definition but we would at least have clarity about how engagement is used in that instance. One of the values of operational definitions in  science is clarity and I am all for more clarity over singularity in employee engagement.

Without clarity engagement could fad or fade away. Although I do not want a single definition, I fear that employee engagement could fad or fade away because of a lack of clarity.

Q12 or See Stay Say. It does not bother me that Gallup uses the Q12 or Hewitt uses see stay say. It is important that we know what they mean. What does bother me is if they don’t tell you what exact number determines an employee moving from disengaged to engaged or from one category to another. Once again, if we say someone is disengaged, how is that operationally defined?

Drop the single definition grail. The single definition quest for employee engagement is not the holy grail for an engaging focus on the workplace. Let’s keep open to a plethora of definitions while striving to be clear and behavioral about what each of them means.

Let employee engagement be your defining moment.

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David Zinger, M.Ed., is an employee engagement writer, educator, speaker, coach, and consultant. He offers exceptional contributions on employee engagement for leaders, managers, and employees. David founded and moderates the 2335 member Employee Engagement Network. His website offers 1000 posts/articles relating to employee engagement and strength based leadership. David is involved in the application of Enterprise 2.0 approaches to engagement and the precursor, creating engaging approaches to communication, collaboration, and community within Enterprise 2.0.

Book David for education, speaking, and coaching on engagement today for 2010.

Email: [email protected]  Phone 204 254 2130  Website:

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