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Is Employee Engagement Nothing More Than a “Cliché”?

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Measuring employee engagement is done in a wide variety of ways, which increases the confusion around the field.  In a recent HR Magazine poll, 68% of its readers who responded “have resigned themselves to the fact that employee engagement is nothing more than a cliché”.

I’d like to respond to this finding.

Employee Engagement as a “field” is just in its beginning stages, and it is subject to different interpretations. Even so, there is no other single business focus that can deliver more sustainable bottom line value than paying attention to real (measurable) steps that can be taken to increase engagement.

One other comment on the HR Magazine poll… With no ill-will to HR professionals, most of what consumes their day (by necessity) relates to compensation and compliance. Neither of those two endeavors have an impact on the level of effort an employee offers on a daily basis. This is not a criticism of HR professionals, but an observation from having worked with hundreds of CEO’s over the last five years. So in a way, it doesn’t surprise me that they are frustrated with engagement efforts.

If you use the wrong tools to measure employee engagement, the outcome is compromised from the start. Some approaches work better than others, and most of the approaches are dependent on the culture and the maturity level (in terms of leadership skills) of managers.

Last thought — those firms that give up on engagement as an organizing principle for their HR related initiatives (exclusive of salary and compliance actions), will be at a severe competitive disadvantage. And by the time they’ve figured out their mistake, it will likely be too late.

BEST PRACTICES TIP:  There is nothing cliché about working hard to improve workplace engagement, so don’t be fooled by meaningless headlines.  Do be wary of meaningless tactical approaches…

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