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Engagement Isn't an Add-On
By Bill Fotsch and John Case Full text link

Why is engaging employees such a challenge for most companies? Heaven knows it’s not for lack of ideas. Spend 30 seconds on the web and you will find lists of 12 or 25 or 49 ways to boost engagement, along with those sad figures about how 70% of workers continue to say they’re unengaged.

So let’s sort out the advice. One category of engagement tips reflects pure self-interest, often identifiable by the little “ad” icon at the top of Google’s search results. Buy our product and your employees will be more engaged in their work. That’s how companies are selling office furnishings, wellness programs, and employee-survey tools these days. One ad touts scheduling software designed to minimize fatigue and burnout, presumably on the hypothesis that burned-out workers aren’t too engaged.

A second category of tips might be called the warm fuzzies, and it covers a broad range. On one end of the spectrum are big-but-squishy ideas. Share information. Clarify your company’s purpose. Ask employees for advice. These are all fine precepts, but they raise as many questions as they answer. Which information should we share? How? When should we ask employees for advice? If a company isn’t already doing these things, it isn’t likely to begin doing so just because some HR consultant says it’s a way to boost engagement.

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