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
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.
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?
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:
- Just what is “engagement,“ because no one seems able to define it very well; and,
- 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.