Engagement: first person, plural

With the 5 May Engagement Expo drawing near, I’ve caught myself mulling over the term ‘engagement’. I know, it really shouldn’t be that complicated!

To put a cap on endless folly in searching out definitions, for me engagement needs be nothing more than the level to which an employee feels connected to their organisation (measured in all sorts of ways including the extra distances they are then willing to go for what that organisation believes in or sells).

On a sunny day last month I was visiting friends: a music producer and a song-writer. We got to asking about each other’s work. I was telling them what I was currently up to.

“Oh well, you know, lots on. We’re celebrating our 75th anniversary this year and we’ve just launched a new funding initiative.  Etc…”

Politely interested in my work, they were both more interested to hear me talking about ‘we’.

They were actually really surprised, knowing my history of corporate resistance, that I’d be talking so naturally about work in the first person plural. “We this, we that.”  They, as I, usually spoke about their work in the singular.

I was shocked. Explaining my work in a wider plural context I realised I must have become rather engaged with something beyond Chris Newstead. Gosh!

In framing the match between people and the places they work engagement is revelatory. And it’s then you’ll see the actions of not just one, but many.

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