Employee engagement

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Satire and ridicule is a great way to damage rumours/stories/beliefs (Robert McKee talked about Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles” putting paid to the old western genre until Clint Eastwood came up with “Unforgiven” to give it a gritty twist from the old versions.)

So I’m delighted to see Dilbert putting the boot into the fluffery that is Employee Engagement.

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While I like the idea of employees being engaged, let’s be realistic – and less managerial. I’m not engaged in my business all the time – and I own and run it. Nobody can be. And if this is truly about employees, why is it always proposed by someone else? I wrote some years ago about Employee Engagement, like Loyalty before it, as an inherently flawed concept. Engagement and loyalty require an exchange – of trust, of communication, of many things – and yet these programmes are traditionally more about the organisation engineering a response from its employees without engaging itself in the requisite exchange.

The dictionary definition of engagement is sixfold:

  1. a pledge of marriage, a betrothal;
  2. an appointment or arrangement, esp. for business or social purposes;
  3. the act of engaging or condition of being engaged;
  4. a promise, obligation, or other condition that binds;
  5. a period of employment, esp. a limited period;
  6. an action; battle

Be honest, which of those is yours?

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