You may not have noticed but they make fun of HR people behind their backs. HR people think orthogonally to the rest of the business. The speak differently. Historically they focus on processes and not results. They worry about compliance and misunderstand performance. They use weird language.
This year’s HR buzzword is Engagement.
Savvy employees understand that engagement is a code word for “No raises this year.” That’s because an engaged workforce is less motivated by money and more motivated by the pure joy of work. Which accounts for the sky-rocketing level of executive comp.
Engagement deserves clearer thought than it is currently getting.
Wikipedia defines engagement as “a promise to marry, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage – which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be affianced, betrothed, engaged to be married, or simply engaged. Future brides and grooms are often referred to as fiancées or fiancés respectively (from the French word fiancé). The duration of the courtship varies vastly.” It’s important to remember that when you are talking about engagement, this is what people think of when they hear the term.
It’s also worth noting that Googling Engagement produces a list of bridal services and no mention of alignment between employees and the organization.
- Employee Engagement
Laurie Ruettimann is not a fan of engagement either. She says “Companies have a responsibility to be profitable, respectful to their workers, and to behave in a fiscally prudent manner. Employees get paid to work. They make choices about their level of engagement based on all sorts of factors including values, personal beliefs, and faith in the organization and products/services that are being offered.”
and “When you call it employee engagement, you stick it in the ghetto with all the other employee-focused programs. When you call it organizational or operational excellence, you’ll get somewhere.”
- The Shift To Engagement
Wes Wu is one of the best systems thinkers in the industry. “If you want to drive employee retention, you really have to be looking at how your organization presents itself to your employees and the public market of candidates” That said, it’s good to remember that the best retention rates occur in government organizations. Is that what you want?
- Want to Increase Employee Engagement? Have Some Fun!
Here’s another problem with the Engagement idea. It takes HR back to being the picnic planner and away from being the source of strategic insight into the organization’s Human Capital.
When HR is in charge of fun, you get to make reservations for the dinner table. You don’t sit at it.
- Engagement Crisis – What were we thinking?
Another gem from Bersin. There are three types: Work Engagement – a connection and appreciation for the work an employee is accomplishing, and a connection to performance; Company Engagement – a connection and appreciation for the company, its goals, its leadership, its future; and, Social Engagement – a connection and appreciation for the people an employee is working for and with on a daily basis.