Dilbert’s boss doesn’t understand engagement (so what’s new?)


Sadly nothing much is new. Still, too many leaders are, at best, ignorant and, at worst, jaundiced about employee engagement. If engagement was all about making people ‘happier’ at work, then the economy would be in a worse position – some people are happy doing nothing, some are happy playing internal politics, others are happy driving their personal objectives above organisational goals. All of the above increase entropy in the enterprise, not engagement.

I believe the saddest thing is the fact that each year organisations like Watson Wyatt, Towers Perrin, Gallup et al report depressing results on the global state of engagement through their various performance indices.

I believe that is a sad indictment of the performance of the very same companies who claim to help organisation’s improve. Are their company stats and reports geared towards new business development? Shocking organisations into signing up for benchmark surveys rather than fixing the problem?

One Comment

  1. Excellent post–and I’d go even farther.

    There are two main reasons, in my opinion, why engagement is such a problem in general–and a particular headache for internal communicators.

    First, the use of the term “employee engagement” indicates a one-way bet on the part of the organization, that it is all about the employee. In fact, it’s a two way street, but that’s not something that’s always said.

    Second, the idea of a linear notion of “engagement”, where an employee is either “disengaged” or “engaged” is both ridiculous and unhelpful. Engagement is a two-way process, and people engage with each other in different ways, such as at the point of a rifle, in full grasp on a wrestling mat, in the seamless motion of gears, or in the marital commitment represented by the ring.

    I discuss these “four forms” of engagement here: http://bit.ly/541pbX

    Thanks for this piece–excellent.

    Mike Klein–The Intersection, Brussels
    http://intersectionblog.wordpress.com
    @mklein818

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