In yesterday’s Musing, I posted an article—“What’s Next for Engagement?”—and recommended that you read the comments following the article. I just re-read those comments and have decided that several of them are insightful enough to deserve a Musing of their own. (My wife: “That’s not a particularly high bar.”)
Here they are. And bear in mind that these appeared on a UK website, so don’t let some of the spelling throw you.
“Well what a surprise interest in engagement is waning! Would help if anyone really understood what it was and not another form of HR mumbo jumbo. Most people are not engaged at work. They just want to make a living. Most companies don't care either. The only engaged employees are the fat cat bosses who are paid to have some interest. When will the arrogant people who run HR face up to the fact that good people management happens when you treat staff with dignity respect and courtesy. Not spouting out pointless phrases like our engagement strategy, work life balance or talent pipeline.”
“I appreciate and applaud the employee engagement industry. However, employee engagement is quite simple to me. You only need to ask me one question to find out if my manager and me are 'engaged,' that is: does my manager know the names of my children. I guarantee if your manager does not know the name(s) of your spouse/partner/children/significant other, you are probably not highly engaged as a team. Now, they can ask you the other 49- 89 questions—but I can already predict your likelihood of staying or leaving.”
“Interesting read... at the end of the day, high levels of engagement is an outcome of the reality of the culture you create and have. We should put initiatives and strategies in place in order to have an environment where our employees feel they can deliver their best and are respected and treated well for it. This then should have positive affects on your engagement - no matter how you chose to measure it. (and measure it you should!)”
“Some interesting comments here. I completely agree...that we must avoid any tendency to jump from engagement onto the next fad, however we should also recognise that engagement did become a bit of a fad and that there are other qualities of our workforce which also need to be invested in. Hopefully we can get investors interested in these other areas too. But we also need to guard against the pull from investors. To make engagement and these other areas work they have to be things we do to because we believe in the potential of our employees...The more we take action to provide better returns for investors, the more these attempts are likely to fail. The pull needs to be from employees - being really interested in what will make people more productive and then delivering these things.
“Call it what you like; engagement, leadership, inspiration, it's a fact that for thousands of years groups of human beings who have a clear aim and motivation to deliver it have succeeded better than those that did not. This applies in all areas of human endeavour. From the organisational perspective today that means more revenue/ profit, better customer service, and other key performance measures. If business leaders can't be bothered to put any effort in to this and their competitors do in the end they will lose out.”
“Significantly, as this and other articles continue to reiterate, the term ‘engagement’ (like other all at sea words like ‘better work’) are and never have been defined. Most business practitioners have realised through the general absence of the use of the word, that engagement is really just a feature of a survey and not of reality. The HR professional practitioner will understand that the reality of an employing organisation is ‘relationships at work’ that operate to furtherance people at work in productive activity based upon cooperation supported by reciprocity and trust that feeds through to commitment.”