Employee engagement is a hot topic.
Certainly it is getting more and more management attention and more and more coverage in blogs, ezines and on the internet. It seems that wherever you turn today, you will find something about the need to engage your employees more.
Heck, even governments are getting on board. Here in the UK the (Conservative) Prime Minister has followed in the footsteps of his (Labour) predecessor and set up an Employee Engagement Task Force to "bring together two of my government’s top priorities – delivering sustainable growth across the UK, and coming up with new approaches to help people improve their wellbeing.” It must be important if the government is getting involved, right?
So is government backing going to make the big difference and enable us to see the breakthrough that we are all clamouring for? Or is it going to be the "kiss of death"? Time will tell.
Makes you think, doesn't it?
At least it made me think. Perhaps we are guilty of over-complicating the whole subject. Maybe in your endeavour for continuous improvement, increased productivity and greater competitiveness you are sending out a negative message. You are emphasising the importance of work. And maybe that is not a good thing!
Certainly (as I have argued before) the phrase "work-life balance" perpetuates the concept of work as something that conflicts with life rather than being innate to it. Maybe these other things do too. So maybe the answer actually lies in less, not more, emphasis on work. Even the term employee engagement reinforces the concept of employees and employment, which, however you try to soften the message, is ultimately about work and the greater expectation you are putting on your people.
Thus I ask you, without putting my tongue firmly in my cheek, "Do you think you might do better to look at ways to stop calling it work, or even implying it is work?" Of course that is easier said than done, but maybe the Zealise employee ownership model gives you a way of doing this. What do you think?