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Whirling Chief

What’s the fuss about employee engagement? Are we not 20 years late?

Everyone is talking about “employee engagement.” In every organization I am professionally a part of, someone inevitably asks me, “All that sounds good, but have you considered employee engagement?” The question numbs me every time, to be completely honest.

Is there a possibility for an HR professional to consider a new line of practice, process or tool without weighing in the consequences of employee motivation, productivity and satisfaction?

Nancy R. Lockwood, in a 2007 HR Magazine article, “Leveraging Employee Engagement for Competitive Advantage: HR’s Strategic Role,” said, “Employees with the highest level of commitment perform 20% better and are ~87% less likely to leave an organization.” No kidding?

As much as we struggle to define what ‘employee engagement’ means as HR/OD professionals, we can all acknowledge everybody wants to work in an environment where they are excited about the company mission and their work, and love the people they work with and the environment they operate in. In that case, I have a new concept for us: it’s called ‘caring for our people.’

Hold on to that thought – we may come back to it at a later date. In the meantime, we asked one of the companies that handles employee engagement best, Google, what employees require to be engaged. Here is what we heard:

  1. Safety – room to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other,
  2. Dependability – a defined bar for execution excellence,
  3. Clarity and Structure – role and objective clarity,
  4. Meaning – work assigned to individuals has substance,
  5. Impact – outcomes matter and make a positive impact.

The notes from our conversations will follow in the next few months with more details. Stay tuned!! In the meantime, we prepared a short toolkit for those of you, who may struggle to organize thoughts and/or find it challenging to answer questions around employee engagement, find it here.


  • 20 June 2016

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