We chose, often unconsciously, wrong and inadequate words in our speech and writing, and expect correct understanding and positive outcomes. Engagement, especially employee engagement, is one such word. We expect team integration and mission fulfillment as an outcome of such ‘engagement initiatives’ costing huge resources in terms of time and money. Of course, this doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen because integration results from unification and bonding, not engagement.
Employee engagement practices, no wonder therefore, mostly fail to deliver. Sample a few nuggets of reality check:
- 26% employees are ‘actively disengaged’; 13 % employees are ‘highly engaged’. (Gallup 2014)
- Half of most advanced users (read CHROs) of engagement survey don’t know how to build a culture of engagement. (Aon Hewitt Report 2012)
- High technology companies throw benefits (free food, unlimited vacation, health club, parties, stock options and fun offices) to employees to see which one stick! (Aon Hewitt 2012)
If our engagement practices leave us befuddled in terms of giving us a healthy ROI, it’s explicable and obvious. So what should you do? Say no to superficial engagement practices. Say yes to vitals of human bonding. Your parents, your teachers always bonded with you. Follow them. So, try out the following recipe:
- Provide physical & emotional safety to your colleagues. Eat last like an army commander. Let your troop eat first. Watch+ practice what Simon Sinek says: Why good leaders make you feel safe.
- Use core wisdom of Gallup Q12 minus all fanfare. Just drive those 12 deliverables, not all of them at a time. Do it from heart, not mind.
- Connect with team’s families. Hear their voice.
This should be good enough kick-off. Cut jargons. Be simple and honest. Bond like an old chum. Connect like a long lost friend. Care like a teacher and/or parent. It is easy said than done. Hear your inner voice. Overlook Big 4.
Allow the magic of bond word play.
You bond with family; and you engage with enemies.