Employee Engagement . . . Are we even DATING!?

Posted: March 31, 2011 in career

I recently did some investigation of key tags in Twitter for #employeeengagement and #talentmanagement. My research (using http://www.wefollow.com) found 74 followers to the first group and 167 to the second. The followers included names like @leadersbeacon, @RealizedWorth, @hrbartender and @Devoted2HR, all invested in holding onto their talent.

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 (and my clients) 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:


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

  1. Wow! Great post Barry. I have been working in HR for 20+ years- I have probably wanted to say it thousands of times- LOOK IN THE MIRROR! Unfortunately we are managing in a society that has created a culture of victimization. But no need to fret- Many people are coming to realize this and are taking action to change their lives and careers.

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