THE VALUE EFFECT:  When people strive to deliver maximum value to customers, they get—and stay—energized.

Employee engagement, properly understood means this:  “The extent to which people are moved to expend additional energy in doing their jobs.”  It has more to do with emotional and psychological investment than with the latest whiz-band consulting protocols or Human Capital Management software, and most leaders feel more than a twinge or two of trepidation when venturing into this emotional/psychological realm.  This is a major boulder on the path to achieving higher levels of engagement. 

Two assertions can help to illuminate that path:  1) All employees have a lifetime’s experience at being a customer; and 2) When employees are operating in their capacity as customers, they are emotionally and psychologically invested.

By drawing bolder brighter lines between what employees do on the job and its effect on the level of value received by a business’ customers, leaders can stimulate and strengthen the emotional/psychological connection people have to their work.  This shared “customer-ness,” if you will, can serve as the lever to help you roll that boulder out of the way.

Fifteen years ago, I wrote a book about this phenomenon.  I labeled it “The Value Effect”, a statement of which appears at the top of this Musing.  If I were writing it today, I would add two words to the end of that statement: “and engaged.”  No, this is not cheating.  The concept of engagement was not so prominently featured in the lexicon of the day, but the concept is the same.

So I went back through my files and found a white paper about The Value Effect that I had written with an old friend and colleague, Nort Salz.  I think it holds up pretty well.  If you’d like to read it, click here.   (And be advised that the contact information at the end of the paper is very much out-of-date.)