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Comments

Les McKeown

Hi Steve -

Thoughtful post. Not trying to be deliberately provocative (I wrote this over a month ago), but after many years working intimately in employee engagement with organizations such as Harvard University, T-Mobile and Pella windows, I came to the conclusion that most employee engagement programs are a waste time and resources:

http://GetPredictableSuccess.com/public/277.cfm

Just a different perspective :)

Les

Steve Roesler

Les,

You won't get any argument from this end. It's about whether or not managers are hiring, assigning, and developing effectively; it's not about any program at all.

Been at this for 30+ years and there is always a "program" to sidetrack the issue of good management.

Anna Erickson

I have to disagree with Les's approach.

I've seen great results with employee engagement programs when implemented properly - with documented impact to business outcome measures. In my experience, most employees what to be high performers - they want to do a great job at work. A good engagement survey allows you to understand what is standing in the way of that performance. By measuring engagement levels, identifying key drivers of engagment and acting on results to drive change, companies really do see an impact on business results.

If I understand Les's approach, he assumes that the boss is always the problem? In my experience, that is often not the case (see http://www.questaroig.com/pdfs/White_Paper_Dear_John.pdf).

My thoughts about engagement are here: http://www.questaroig.com/pdfs/White_Paper_Engagement.pdf

Steve Roesler

Anna,

My experience with many programmatic approaches to "engagement" is similar to that of Les. That doesn't mean that all approaches aren't productive and, in fact, your White Paper does a nice job of breaking down those areas that need purposeful attention.

As a result, I'm going to feature it in an upcoming post.

Steve

Patricia

Hi Steve,

Excellent topic. The Conference Board synthesis report is outstanding. But there is actually newer research than the Conference Board's synthesis report that shows the top five key drivers of employee engagement. One of the new drivers is "having a say in decisions that affect me." Also, "my manager" is becoming less important now than "my company." Employees are really taking corporate social responsibility to heart.

We've written a free ebook with practical EE strategies based on newer research on employee engagement: Download it here:

http://www.interactionassociates.com/email/email_20090114_form.html

Les McKeown

Hey! I see your blog post and raise you with my article. Anna sees my article and raises with her white paper - then Patricia trumps us all with an eBook...? Just waiting for someone to come in with their webcast...

Anna, your point: "If I understand Les's approach, he assumes that the boss is always the problem?" is correct - so far as employee engagement issues are concerned, yes: if there are problems at the employee level, then axiomatically the manager is responsible for either poor hiring or poor managing.

The 'problem' with most EE *programs* however, lies with HR & OD - they're too fixated on hiding behind programs and so-called best practices, and less competent at calling the elephant in the room - usually poor management.

Steve Roesler

Les,

Hmm.Maybe I'll do a TV special:-)

My experience has, again, been consistent with yours. Often it is not the quality or commitment of the HR/OD people but simply the fact that performance--and the related "engagement"-- is supposed to be mediated by managers. That's what they get paid for. Period.

To add fuel to the fire: there are also policies and procedures that can get in the way. If mid-level managers are unable to influence those and get rid of them, then they have to get darned creative trying to tap dance around them on behalf of their people.

Frode H

Hi Steve.
I just found a video from Bill Benjamin about this topic. The video is a great supplement for this blog post.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8288320368818996558

Steve Roesler

Patricia,

Thanks for the new resource. I'm sure readers will want to have a look.

Steve Roesler

Frode, that's a good presentation for people to see. Thanks!

Fred Schlegel

The list seems to make sense, but I think I would put the co-worker point a bit higher. It is so much easier for an individual to feel part of an organization if their particular piece of it is a strong, cohesive, trustworthy unit. If not, then most of the other points won't help much.

Rob

Hi,

Interesting stuff and thanks for the read. You might like to visit...

www.engagingideas.co.uk

.... to get some further perspectives.

Best,

Rob

Steve Roesler

Rob

Look forward to the resource and a good read.

Debbie Norris

I've read a lot of definitions of employee engagement lately. The one you used--"a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work"--is among my favorites. It cuts to the core and leaves out a lot of the extraneous baggage that's often wrapped up in discussions of engagement.

Steve Roesler

Fred,

Since these aren't in any ranked order, move it up on your personal list.

Steve Roesler

Debbie,

Pleased that this one works for you.

I believe that the discussion can get enormously philosophical and quickly move away from the real issue: engagement and results.

Richard Parkes Cordock

Interesting discussion. To add my two-pence worth... if you remove the words 'employee engagement programme' and simply look at companies who have passionate employees, who believe in the products and services they offer, who love coming to work each day, who are creative, innovative and feel connected to their work and company - then you can say you have an engaged workforce.

The question is, how to you get to that place?

In my opinion, the answer is never far away from great leadership, recruiting the right people in the right places, liberating the wrong people who have a negative effect on the business, and constantly developing the team and never standing still.

I personally believe companies can benefit from external help in getting to that place - some of that help will be wrapped up in the term 'employee engagement'. Employee engagement programmes are simply tools, and it is how the leaders (and employees) use those tools which will determine the results they achieve.

www.enterpriseleaders.com

Steve Roesler

Richard,

A meaningful tuppence.

My take: employee engagement "programs" are often a substitute for the good management practices you listed. When your suggestions are in place, there doesn't seem to be much of an issue.

As so often happens, buzzwords linked to programs are the hoped for "quick fix" sought by organizations. Until the basics are attended to and done well, not much else will really matter.

Thanks so much for adding to the discussion. . .

Laptop repair in Lincoln

To add my two-pence worth... if you remove the words 'employee engagement programme' and simply look at companies who have passionate employees, who believe in the products and services they offer, who love coming to work each day, who are creative, innovative and feel connected to their work and company - then you can say you have an engaged workforce.

healthcare it

. It cuts to the core and leaves out a lot of the extraneous baggage that's often wrapped up in discussions of engagement.

advance google place

I think we need to bring more ideas for this purpose. Involvement of young people can be handy in this regard. I am happy to find a good post here. Thank you.

seo forum

I think I would put the co-worker point a bit higher. It is so much easier for an individual to feel part of an organization if their particular piece of it is a strong, cohesive, trustworthy unit. If not, then most of the other points won't help much

Edith

Hi, I am doing some research for a college paper and was told to search for employee engagement. I have a question. Do you think that age and technology are a factor for employee engagement?

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