The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Elements of Employee Engagement

A new concept in HR lingo is "employee engagement." At Entrances (360 employment networking group on LinkedIn), we're considering what goes into considering how much and what constitutes being "engaged."

The first thing that comes to mind about this term is what it means. That's an essential first step so that everyone is talking about the same thing and so more meaning can be added to the conversation and the discoveries that arise from it.

No, I don't think the employee is getting married to anyone in the company or even to the company. (Although an argument could be made that once you've applied for the job and started the interview process, you're essentially "engaged to" the company. But I digress.) So back to defining the concept. William Kahn is the one we can blame for this and the date is 1990.

It isn't about making employees happy, according to Kevin Kruse. It's more about the buy-in that employees have to the vision and mission of the company. It's about their investment in making the company a place that provides value and encourages not only return business but also business growth.

Proof of that concept proved to be a very happy surprise was the day I had a conversation with a Starbucks Customer Service representative. The call started because of a small matter - their generic reusable cups and what to do in order to have one recognized as a legitimate purchase, not a previously used cup during the normal stream of commerce and simply found in a trash bin. In addition to becoming incensed when he grasped the breadth of the disservice, he started talking about why it's important to provide the customer with a great Starbucks experience. He went to great lengths to describe why the customer should feel they are welcome to be there and want to return because of the memory of their experiences with the personnel, the store, the quality of the goods.

The Starbucks representative didn't go into discussing the elements of engagement. However it's important to note that this employment dynamic has components that can be measured. It's also important to know which are the more important components so that the correct measurements, benchmarks, can be gained to measure how well the organization is doing.

How far into doing your job does the examination of employee engagement go? For that matter, does the standard of engagement change depending on the type of employee you are? A temporary employee slaves away the entire time they're at the job (except for the 10-minute break and 30-minute lunch period) whereas the regular employee can count "thinking time" as work. Is organizing your desk or work area or making your "to-do" list for the day (or week) considered being engaged? To what extent do those activities make your customer feel they're getting your full attention and the best you have to offer? Perhaps you should question whether even you become engaged?

So that's what we've come up with so far. Why not join us and keep this, and the other conversations, going.

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1 comment:

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