This week’s worst idea appeared in The Huffington Post in an article the title of which sets new standards for both accuracy and complete absence of self-awareness:  “Spreading it Thick: The Buzz on Engagement”.  And spread-it-thick it does with paragraphs like this one:

“Studying these turning or tipping points, while it may not allow us to predict the next trend or shift, can provide us with insight into the levers that make changes more likely and provide valuable context for the circumstances in which individual change occurs. Combined with information on the habituation of these behaviors we can have a better handle on the underpinnings of sustainable engagement in our population.”

Sure the syntax is tortured and the metaphors are mixed, but that’s a small price to pay for the possibility of improving one’s ability to habituate behaviors and handle underpinnings, isn’t it?

More deep insight from the article:

“Can big data be used to predict engagement trends? The music industry has been using it to predict what songs/artists will make it big. We also use it for weather forecasting and a host of other natural phenomenon (eg. spreading of germs/diseases). If you can get your hands on enough data it may behoove you run the analytics to supplement your fact finding.”

I should probably congratulate the author for getting an article published in what is apparently not his first language (“a host of other natural phenomenon”, “it may behoove you run the analytics”), but I’m too put off by the implication that engagement should be seen as something associated with “buzz” like the latest pop music chart-topper.

For an excellent 1000-word summary of how not to think about employee engagement, read this article.  But before you do, put on a pair of boots.  It is, indeed, spread pretty thick.