Is Employee Engagement A Fairy Tale?

My answer is “no,” but the article below reminds us that we must develop “engagement” strategies that recognize the highly imperfect nature of the work world and the effects of the loss of the old “social contract theory of employment.” To perhaps unfairly paraphrase one of Ms. Welbourne messages in the article below, we can’t quit being loyal to employees and expect our engagement strategies to magically lead to employee loyalty and eager engagement in safety efforts or any other employer needs.

I also rather like this professor/consultant’s blog, How To Manage Change Management As Change Becomes the Norm (try to say that three times fast).

Finally, read the last TLNT blog by John Hollon, which is referenced at the end of my post.  Hollon’s blog  talks about the fact that we really have not defined “employee engagement” very well and whether this holy grail is actually worth the effort to employers.

Both bloggers are well worth following, as is TLNT.

A ContrarianView of Employee Engagement

by on Jul 16, 2013, 7:00 AM  |  4 Comments
Every day I get alerts on new articles, blogs and books on employee engagement.

I expected that, at some point, the content would start to slow down vs. grow, but it has not happened. There seem to be endless conversations about this topic, and you’d think that employee engagement is some sort of state of nirvana.

With all this happy talk about engagement, there needs to be a contrarian voice. Here are a few things to think about that do not show up in most employee engagement articles.

A contrarian’s history of employee engagement

Once upon a time there was something called a job for life. Along with the job for life came a relic called a pension. For those of you who can’t remember what a pension is, it’s a guaranteed monthly income, usually accompanied by health insurance, that stays with a former employee during retirement.

Oh, retirement? That’s something people used to be able to do when they worked in the job-for-life company. The deal was a job for life in exchange for loyalty. But, this happy story did not last too long when the economy came crashing down.

Continue reading at TLNT.

We must not only determine how to promote employee engagement, but whether the efforts are well spent.  We do not want to fall into the trap of merely repeating the latest HR/Behavioral theories much like an unproved mantra.  Final link for the post ….

      Weekly Wrap: Are We Wasting Our Time on Employee Engagement?

by on Jul 12, 2013, 12:20 PM  |  3 Comments

Loyal readers of TLNT know that we have a lot of content surrounding the concept of employee engagement because, well, no one seems to have a really good handle on employee engagement.

The issues that seem to always pop up are:

  1. Just what is “engagement, because no one seems able to define it very well; and,
  2. Even if we can figure out how to define it, what is the benefit of improved employee engagement, anyway

Those two points seem to be the fuel for a never-ending stream of articles, commentary, and debate. I’m not going to dig into them again here, except to share something that I picked up from a recent Washington Post On Leadership column that seemed to have gotten lost during the extended July 4th holiday.

Continue reading at TLNT.

About mavity2012

I am a Senior Partner operating out of the Atlanta office of Fisher & Phillips LLP, one of the Nation’s oldest and largest management employment and labor firms. My practice is national and keeps me on the road or in one of our 28 offices about 50 percent of the time. I created and co-chair the Firm's Workplace Safety and Catastrophe Management Practice Group. I have almost 29 years of experience as a labor lawyer, but rely even more heavily on the experience I gained in working in my family's various businesses, and through dealing with practical client issues. Employers tell me that they seldom meet an attorney who delivers on his promise to provide practical guidance and to be a business partner. As a result, some executives probably use different terms than “practical” to describe my fellow travelers in the profession. I don't enjoy the luxury of being impractical because I spend much of my time on shop floors and construction sites dealing with safety, union and related issues which are driven by real world processes and the need to protect and get the most out of one's most important business assets ... its employees. That's one of the reasons that I view safety compliance as a way to also manage problem employees, reduce litigation and develop the type of work environment that makes unions unnecessary. Starting out dealing with union-management challenges and a stint in the NLRB have better equipped me to see the interrelationship of legal and workplace factors. I am proud also of my experience at Fisher & Phillips, where providing “practical advice” is second only to legal excellence among the Firm’s values. Our website lists me as having provided counsel for over 225 occasions of union activity, guided unionized companies, and as having managed approximately 450 OSHA fatality cases in construction and general industry, ranging from dust explosions to building collapses, in virtually every state. I have coordinated complex inspections involving multi-employer sites, corporate-wide compliance, and issues involving criminal referral. As a full labor lawyer, I oversee audits of corporate labor, HR, and safety compliance. I have responded to virtually every type of day-to-day workplace inquiry, and have handled cases before the EEOC, OFCCP, NLRB, and numerous other state and federal agencies. At F & P, all of us seek to spot issues and then rely upon attorneys in the Firm who concentrate on those areas. No tunnel vision. I teach or speak around 50 times per year to business associations, bar and professional groups, and to individual businesses. I serve on safety committees at three states’ AGC Chapters, teach at the AGC ASMTC
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