On Getting Engaged

“Engaged employees plan to stay for what they give; the disengaged stay for what they get.” So says a new report on employee engagement from the consulting firm BlessingWhite Inc.

The trouble is, only 1 in 3 employees around the world are engaged, according to the study. And nearly 1 in 5 are actually disengaged. BlessingWhite defines full engagement as “an alignment of maximum job satisfaction (‘I like my work and do it well’) with maximum job contribution (‘I help achieve the goals of my organization’).”

Yet how do companies create an environment for workers to feel this way? One idea from BlessingWhite is for managers to hold “an engagement review” with each of their employees “to ensure that you’re on the same page and are doing all that you need to do to support him or her.” The firm notes that this is not a time for feedback on performance. Rather, it’s an opportunity to discuss the importance of the employee’s job and how it fits with the company’s larger goals. It’s a chance to review the employee’s top priorities and to discuss how he or she is being supported in meeting them. And it’s a moment to ask about job conditions: What gets in the way of a great day at work?

[EXPAND More]The process, which we think is a wise one, reminded us very much of Peter Drucker’s “manager’s letter,” which he laid out in his 1954 landmark book The Practice of Management. The goal of this twice-yearly missive, written to one’s supervisor, is for the employee to spell out not only his or her own goals but also what he or she sees as the boss’s objectives. After that, the employee enumerates the “things he must do himself to attain these goals—and the things within his own unit he considers the major obstacles. He lists the things his superior and the company do that help him and the things that hamper him.”

“Finally,” Drucker continued, “he outlines what he proposes to do during the next year to reach his goals. If his superior accepts this statement, the ‘manager’s letter’ becomes the charter” under which one carries out his responsibilities. Added Drucker: “This device, like no other I have seen, brings out how easily the unconsidered and casual remarks of even the best ‘boss’ can confuse and misdirect.”

So how about you: Are you fully engaged at work—and, if not, how might you get there?[/EXPAND]

Are you fully engaged at work?