Congratulations! People who get engaged usually receive lots of congratulatory support. You have made a commitment to get married. You start to plan your life together and plan the official public ceremony to kick off the legal bond of matrimony.
The idea of an engaged workforce has been around a long time. The basic concept is that if you love what you do and connect what you do every day to the goals of the organization then you will innovate more, treat customers better, and work to improve the product or service your organization provides.
In today’s market, engaging people well has become one of the biggest competitive differentiators there is.
Employee engagement is a highly complex issue. It involves a visible, clear and concise mission statement and core values. Managers and leaders need to live by these values and then hire the right people who fit with the organizational culture they are building. The work environment needs to be improved, redesigned, and modified continuously to make work enjoyable and interesting on an ongoing basis – forever.
There are other factors that impact engagement: a multi-generational workforce; new and ever changing technology, the desire for flexibility AND consistency, as well as the wish for transparency while respecting confidentiality.
The reason people depart is complex and varied. The reason engagements are broken are too.
So if your organization prefers an ‘engagement survey’ – they don’t doesn’t always get to all of those factors.
Let’s be honest – most organizations don’t just want engaged employees. They want committed employees. Just like in a marriage – there are times when things get in the way of the bliss that existed at the start. The ability to focus on the why we got together (our mission), the ability to innovate, and enjoy each other is what makes married people happy. And the same goes for working people.
Surveys are not a replacement for good leadership. The ability to re-design positions, change the work environment, add different benefits, develop managers and teach them new skills, hire people for ‘cultural fit,’ and recognize when the fit is wrong – those are the things that make an organization better at moving employees from engaged to committed.
Organizations today are beginning to understand that while you may not be able to retain people, you can attract them. You want colleagues who feel inspired and supported, not just engaged. You can give employees opportunities for learning and development although you cannot make them execute.
If you want people to commit, make work fun and meaningful.
Let’s change our thinking and move beyond the concept of engagement. To truly achieve the goal of making our organizations “Irresistible” we should make work enjoyable, meaningful, and enriching for everyone. Engagement is nice but commitment is better.