This week’s Worst Idea comes from an article titled “GAO Lists Key Drivers of Engagement” that appeared in a recent edition of FEDweek.   Please read the representative paragraph from that article (below) than take the one-question multiple-choice quiz that follows.

From the article:

GAO added: “OPM developed resources to help agencies use EEI data to strengthen employee engagement but fell short of supporting a holistic approach to improving engagement and linking to performance. For example, OPM does not report whether annual EEI changes are statistically significant—that is, whether the changes were meaningful or due to random chance. Likewise, OPM does not analyze which FEVS questions are associated with higher EEI scores. This information would help agencies better focus their efforts to improve engagement and target resources. Further, OPM has provided limited examples or lessons learned on linking engagement to agency performance, which agencies will need to inform their next survey cycle.”

Now the quiz:

After reading that paragraph, I am most inclined to want to:

a)    Ensure that EEI data sufficiently buttresses a holistic approach to improving engagement.

b)   Discriminate between FEVS questions and their correlation to higher EEI scores.

c)    Require that OPM report the statistical significance of all EEI changes.

d)   Plunge a letter opener into my carotid arteries.

What elevates this article to Worst Idea status is its overall—and soul-sucking— grayness.  While reading it, one can’t help but envision the rows of gun-metal gray desks, gray walls, and gray energy levels that characterize the agencies whose EEI (Employee Engagement Index) data was used by OPM (Office of Personnel Management) to better support a holistic approach blah, blah, blah.

I realize that answer d is not the sort of thing one generally finds in business-related stuff.  But didn’t its introduction of an action verb, a first-person pronoun, and some color (albeit blood-red) make you feel more engaged?

I am willing to concede that every one of the FEDweek article’s 347 words was chockfull of invaluable insight and guidance.  The problem is that it is so enshrouded in gray government-speak that I, simply, do not want to read it.  It violates what ought to be Rule #1 of any effort to increase levels of engagement: 

Be engaging!