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What We Call Employee Engagement is Driving Me Nutty

If you want to get more out of your work, you need to put more into your work.

We must stop the employee engagement candy floss now before it gets so gooey and makes such a mess that we toss it in the management and leadership bandwagon trash bin.

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Here is a sample of “employee engagement” published last week from the Comprehensive List of Employee Engagement Activities:

  • Hold two annual parties
  • Learning lunches that are light and fun
  • Employee games and tournaments
  • Bring your dog to work day
  • Bar nights
  • Etc.

Do not think I am a curmudgeon. I am not opposed to these activities and if you are having a bar night, I’m in.

I am just saying that I don’t see this as employee engagement. This is the icing on the cake not the cake itself. We need to focus and enhance work and results.

My definition of employee engagement is quite simple but directly tied to our work: Good work done well with others every day. The above list are things done more outside of work than in the very work itself. I prefer to focus on results, performance, progress, relationships, recognition, moments, strengths, meaning, wellbeing, and energy that is found in the day to day of our work. If I want candy floss I will go to a carnival not my office.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who uses the pyramid of employee engagement to help organizations and individuals apply simple rules and key behaviors to get the most out of work.

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