Employee Engagement? Are we even dating?!

Posted: March 15, 2010 in career

I recently did some investigation of key tags in Twitter for #employeeengagement and #talentmanagement. My research (using http://www.wefollow.com) found 58 followers to the first group and 151 to the second. The followers included names like @leadersbeacon, @RealizedWorth, @hrbartender and @Devoted2HR, totaling literally thousands of individuals.

How interesting, I mused, that so much energy and time should be devoted to these topics. At its core, the concept of “engagement” seems to hearken back to the question, “Do I get to do what I do best every day?”. I first encountered this question in the excellent book First Break All the Rules (Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman), and have been asking myself this very question ever since.

I also often ask this of my clients (whether companies, organizations or individuals), since many of them would quote the title of another book in my list, I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This, by Julie Jansen. As a matter of fact, when I pull my copy off of the shelf in my office and show it to them they nod knowingly, sometimes energetically.

So, who’s to “blame” for this sad state of affairs? The employee? The employer? The economy? Fill in the blank? I would respectfully suggest that the answer may be “Yes!” One more quote from yet another book (I promised this is the last one for this blog) that is out of print but well worth finding. The book is I Ain’t Much Baby, But I’m All I’ve Got, by Jess Lair. The quote is the title of Chapter 11 – “If there’s a problem here – I caused it.”

Here’s the punchline of this post:

THE ONLY PERSON IN A SITUATION THAT YOU POTENTIALLY HAVE ANY LEVEL OF CONTROL OVER IS YOU.

This means that being aware of the interests, values and preferred skills of yourself and those around and creating opportunities to tap into these resources are the best first steps to promoting that elusive word “ENGAGEMENT.”

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