We’re too busy being engaged to succeed

Let’s stop trying to engage people. There, I said it. I work in the employee engagement team and for this this blog I may indeed get my P45. Pah. I’ll take the risk.

The term engagement is bandied about – wielded, in fact – by agencies (ours included) and their clients. But recently I’ve been questioning: is engagement what we really want from employees?  And what does engagement actually mean?

Without dwelling too much on semantics or dictionary definitions, I’ll focus instead on what engagement means to most people. Being ‘engaged’ in something, by someone, or a company, is a one-way exchange. It means I (company or person) have something to say or do that I want you to believe in and act on. It’s suggesting the recipient is passive in this exchange – there to be ‘engaged’.

That’s why, to me, talking about engagement – even saying the word – feels somewhat antiquated in today’s workplaces.

Surely, what any company actually wants for their employees is for them be inspired and enabled to do the work they got out of bed to do, well. This means two things:  1) That you hire well, so that you’ve got the right people are in the right jobs, and 2) Once an employee is ‘in’, you equip them well and provide a culture in which they can thrive.

This is what I signed up for when I entered a career in ‘employee engagement’. So let’s cut to the chase and seek to inspire and enable employees to do the jobs they want to do.

On that note, I’ll sign off as ‘Jess from the Employee Inspiration and Enablement team’ and hope I’ve still got a job.