• Mervyn

    Great Stuff! Agree Agree Agree!

  • Barb Dusek

    Thanks, Jason, for using language every employee (and manager) can understand rather than using HR speak. I like to think of engagement as a one coin – one side belongs to the employee, the other side belongs to the manager. In other words, both employee and manager share this currency called “engagement.:

  • http://twitter.com/GregoryHarris Greg Harris

    Hold on partner. This article was a roller coaster. My reaction went like this: Yeah. Amen. Whoa. Wait. Ummmm. Well. No. Heck no.

    The relationship between
    worker and company is like other relationships; it requires give and take
    on both sides in order for everyone to win. Measuring
    engagement helps identify weaknesses in those relationships, so that employees
    and managers can work on solutions together. Expecting employees to be engaged
    is one thing. Hiring employees who are likely to be engaged is smart. Telling
    employees, “you must be engaged; it’s mandatory” sounds like an
    abusive relationship where someone says, “it’s mandatory that you love
    me.” And it makes me want to love that person less. Love is a two-way street. But this
    perspective seems to merely reverse the direction of a one-way street approach.

    • http://twitter.com/JasonLauritsen Jason Lauritsen

      Thanks for the comment, Greg.  I can see how you could read it that way.  Perhaps I can restate it a little differently using your relationship example.  If we are going to get married, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect you to love me.  If you don’t love me, then we either need to fix that or we need to get a divorce because option 3, staying in a loveless, dysfunctional marriage is not okay.  Does that work any better for you?  

      • http://twitter.com/GregoryHarris Greg Harris

        Option 3 is certainly bad….and cancerous to an entire firm. But I’m still not convinced that “do this or else” is a scalable management model.

        Bottom line is…for marriage to work…Employees must love and be lovable.
        Employers must love and be lovable.
        The accountability is shared. The best workplaces are those that accomplish this.

    • Girasol83607

      Great points! If you mandate “engagement” you get obedience – exactly what you asked for and no more. If you manipulate employees, you get game players. If you want people to bring their hearts to work, to care about the job, be creative, and join in building its future, then you have to care about them and their future. It’s a two way street in any case, but you need to pick the right street.

  • Mike Caracalas

    Well written article Jason, but I think I need to agree with Greg.  The missing element in the article is choice.  Engagement is a choice that can never be mandated. The only thing you can mandate is compliance.  In the marriage example, you cannot mandate someone else to love you.  You can expect it, but all the expectation in the world is not enough if you’re not doing anything to earn it.  Your partner has to trust you, respect you, yes love you enough to bring his/her whole self to the relationship.  Your absolutely right that a loveless relationship is not desirable.  In the corporate setting, if a company doesn’t own up to their side of the relationship, the best employees will simply leave for a better partner.  Then you’re just stuck with the ones that couldn’t find a better mate. 

    A couple other comments…
    It’s actually not what we pay people for.  There’s plenty of data confirming all the money in the world does not create engagement.  You need to pay people sufficiently to stay in the game, but then, what engages people is challenge, meaning, and autonomy.  These are all things that the company has considerable influence over.  These are also the things that create breakthrough results for the business.

    I do agree that traditionally companies put the accountability in the wrong place in Action Planning.  My approach is to create shared accountability, with grass roots effort and senior level championship/ownership.  It’s a 2 way street, and companies that want to win take ownership for creating a reason for their best employees to engage and give their best.  If you do all of that, and they still don’t engage, then by all means, skip the mandate and just go ahead and fire ’em.