This 12-part series was based on the wheel of engagement. This project began a year ago as I noticed that the word engagement had seeped into the vocabulary of work and organizations. I created the wheel of engagement to diagram and systematically explore engagement paired with: employee, personal, well-being, work, task, project, career, relationship, social, customer, brand, manager, leader, organization, and enterprise.
Since the start of the series, I could add even more sections including; civic engagement, patient engagement, student engagement, and social responsibility engagement.
What began as an outline and explanation of engagement one year ago has ended as my dream for engagement. A dream that is possible when we work at engagement and when engagement works for all of us.
Is employee engagement simply a management fad?
While engagement gathers increasing breadth, critics have become cynical of the efficacy and effectiveness of engagement to make a difference in the workplace. A recent article by Pat Galagan from the American Training and Development Association was provocatively entitled, Employee Engagement: An Epic Failure?
Some organizational engagement journeys have slipped into management fad abyss, beginning with enthrallment, moving into disappointment and lost forever in abandonment and disillusionment. These leaders and mangers have abandoned engagement in search of the next magic management elixir that promises to transform their organization.
The engagement consultancies now brand their offering as being beyond engagement or supplement engagement with energy, enablement, well-being, or performance management. Engagement seems to be unraveling before our eyes. But I see things differently.
The future of employee engagement
I believe that we have not gone far enough or strong enough with engagement. When we categorize pizza parties and a company car wash as our engagement program, we have failed to become weavers of meaningful engagement into the vital facets of work.
We need to weave the new organizational and management fabric of the workplace with the golden thread of engagement. A golden thread symbolizes the value and color of engagement. This thread is what holds our work tapestry together. Engagement is not something extra, it’s integrated into how we lead, manage, and work.
Creating engagement that matters
Henry Mintzberg, one of the world’s most engaged management
thinkers, keeps rallying managers and leaders to strive towards a more engaging
way of working. He demonstrates how we fail, when we don’t embrace the science,
art, and craft of management. When we fail to weave science, art, and craft
into management, we may have the numbers of science but fail to have vision and
gumption. We may have gumption but no vision or science. Or we may have vision
but no science and gumption to make the engaging vision come alive. We must
enhance our work with questions, listening, metrics, evidence, invitations,
conversations, community, co-creation, and collaboration.
We can overcome the threat of superficial engagement with robust engagement by attuning to many to the perspectives and approaches outlined in the previous eleven articles in this series.
The promise of engagement will be fulfilled when we have:
- Engaging listeners to let everyone know they matter.
- Engaging invitations to work that make a true difference.
- Engaging conversations to bond us to our teams.
- Engaging voices to give input and meaning into strategy.
- Engaging trust, transparency, and safety to create authentic community.
- Engaging questions to stimulate and trigger our wellbeing.
- Engaging co-creation and collaboration to achieve results that matter to all.
- Engaging results infused with meaning and purpose.
- Engaging real-time measures that let us know where we are in our work.
- Engaging leaders to join with staff to create powerful organizations.
- Engaging management to foster daily progress with work.
Engagement offers promise but the promise is broken when engagement is not practiced daily as a way of leading, managing, and working. I don’t want engagement to end as a fad that withers away. I want engagement to end because it is the golden thread that holds everything together and we barely notice the thread because it is part of the fabric of our daily tapestry of work.
To read the previous posts in this series I encourage you to visit this link: http://www.halogensoftware.com/blog/author/dzinger. I am David Zinger, I am engaged, and I invite you to engage along with me!