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What Doesn’t Create Employee Engagement

October 31, 2013

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I’m dismayed at the shallow attempts to improve employee engagement with gimmicks. I expect that employees are or will be too.

Here’s a partial list:

  • Employee satisfaction surveys that are looked at then filed and no further meaningful action taken.
  • Regular streams of one way “communication” about the business coming from head office.
  • “Happy Fridays” and other party tricks that occur once a month or so.
  • Gamification of work using technology (using technology to make work be like a game).

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment employees have to the organisation and its goals. The above list and their fellows may relieve the boredom, or may be a simple way to start taking action about employee engagement. But they will not deliver lasting employee engagement.

The first and foremost condition required for employee engagement is the authentic engagement of leaders with their people. That means leaders need to get off their seats, away from their computer and be with their people sufficiently to build an effective working relationship with them, to demonstrate that they are fully aware of what their people are doing, achieving, needing and feeling. They need to genuinely recognise and acknowledge good work. They need to show and demonstrate that the work their people do is valued and has dignity.

Additionally they need to ensure that all the conditions described in Herzberg’s Dual Theory are present.

What’s been your experience with attempts to improve employee engagement?

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