Are you listening? The return of Employee Engagement

23 01 2013

employee_engagement“Employee Engagement” used to be a term reserved for the hollow halls of HR departments across the land. You’d hear a client say that was their main goal, and you knew a program was doomed to fail – usually because it was code word for “I haven’t got a clue what to do with this type of social application”.  My eyes would roll, my sleeves would get rolled up, and I’d get down to work teaching them the need to rethink the requirement for innovation goals that would drive focused value and strategic change through their organization.

But that was 10 years ago – and today, as I was sitting down with the CEO of a multi-million dollar multimedia retailer, I found myself reflecting on how much has changed since those days with respects to “employee engagement”.

“Boris, I see tools like this” (referring to the Social Innovation program we outlined to her) “as table stakes for keeping today’s top employee base” she said – the first time I’ve heard a C-level executive say that with full conviction.

Bravo – for she struck the nail cleanly on the head. With social technologies increasingly being weaved into the fabric that is our personal lives – we’re getting used to being heard by the masses – and we bring that desire to be heard with us into the workplace.  As Facebook and the other mainstream social platforms get us used to being influential in a bigger world, the dichotomy of then being ignored in the workplace is increasingly causing friction.

4255321476_93d737a959Where as yesterday’s employees wanted pool tables and quirky benefits , today’s employees don’t just want to be actively engaged in the company they work for, they DEMAND it.

Smart employees want to feel a part of the world around them, want to feel they can influence and enact change, want the transparency and responsibilities that come with active engagement – and if you don’t provide that level of autonomy for them – then someone else will.

These are after all, the table stakes of keeping bright employees nowadays – question is, are you stepping up to the table?

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3 responses

18 04 2013
Dietmar

…when it comes to innovation management, employees also demand to select the tools they want to work with. To help them make good choices, the company needs to make sure they have the information necessary to do that.

3 10 2013
Jonas

totally agree to both of you – on top: once your company reaches a certain size, your employees will quickly find out if your business is really caring about their input and engagement – or if its just having a mainstream social media strategy…regards jonas from believe-in-visions.com

11 12 2013
M.Elliott

I believe what has also changed is the fact that positions are rapidly converting and people are very skeptical about what there tasks will be like a year from now. Being engaged helps to eliminate some of this fear. I think this is a great topic to further investigate. Having a hunch will not suffice. This a great opportunity to have employees chime in on why engagement is important.

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