The Most Exactly Wrong Employee Engagement Idea of the Week!

I have a Google alert set for “Employee Engagement” as a result of which I receive an email each morning with a list of the previous day’s internet content on the topic.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that a recurring theme of these Musings is that many of the things being done to achieve higher levels of engagement are not just wrong but exactly wrong, i.e., they miss the point by approximately 180 degrees, approaching the platonic ideal of wrong-ness.

Beginning today and then on all succeeding Mondays, I will be honoring “The Most Exactly Wrong Employee Engagement Idea of the Week!”  Today’s honoree comes from an item in Virtual-Strategy Magazine that describes a new product offering from a company called DeskAlerts.  Here are the first two paragraphs from that article:

Engaging employees is made markedly easier this month thanks to an innovative corporate wallpaper solution from DeskAlerts. In the wake of recent research highlighting the importance of employee engagement, the customized desktop backgrounds can be used as a hard hitting communications channel for businesses wanting to build better employee relationships.

 Anton Vdovin, DeskAlerts Project Manager said, “Too many businesses underestimate the potential of digital screen monitor backgrounds. The reality is that desktops are incredibly valuable spaces which can be used to communicate with employees. DeskAlerts corporate wallpaper solutions allow businesses to do just this. With customizable content and total control, administrators can use desktop wallpaper to announce company news, issue event reminders, send inspirational messages and more! Any business not harnessing the power of desktop wallpaper space is selling itself short.”

The problem is not the use of desktop wallpaper as a communications medium.  The problem is in thinking that the receipt of company news, event reminders, inspirational messages, “and more!” constitute engagement.   Plus which, this kind of force-feeding of information has a sort of 1984’ish vibe to it, so I don't think that "creeping people out" equals "engagement".