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Employee Engagement

Take the Wheel; Don’t Just Hitch a Ride on the Bandwagon

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I’ve been immersed in the world of employee engagement dating back at least 20 years, only back then we referred to it as employee satisfaction. Those were the days in HR when we all did an annual survey to assess how people felt about their jobs and thought the best way to do this was through a 65+ multiple choice questionnaire and lots of room to write any comment you wanted.  No subject was off limits from how you felt about your senior leadership to your direct supervisor, career development and compensation and benefits.  My personal favorite was asking if you were satisfied with the amount of compensation you received. Really? Who in their right mind would say yes except for the CEO.

Thankfully a number of years ago the Gallup organization got smart and turned the focus to solely asking about employee engagement and limiting the questions to 12.  So much easier to administer and quicker to get reports back, but more importantly it made us look at the right things when it came to our employees. You don’t need to be satisfied or happy to be engaged. Frankly, some of the most engaged people I know are not satisfied with the status quo and are working hard to create a better environment for themselves and their colleagues. Now that’s engagement!

Throughout my years of experience in corporate human resources, there’s always been a thread of work for me that centered on engagement, but it wasn’t until I started my own business and wrote my book “Coming Alive: The Journey To Reengage Your Life And Career” that I became an Engagement Evangelist. I knew that this is where I was supposed to be and couldn’t wait to be a driver of awareness and change. There was no way I wanted to be in the back seat on this important issue.

As I look back on the past 18 months since Gallup released their updated state of the workplace study, it’s clear how many people have jumped on the engagement bandwagon. The number of people claiming to be experts in this area and the volume of material that’s now available online is staggering.  None of us are truly experts on engagement, except maybe for Gallup, but many of us bring great minds to the issue and all want the same thing, to create a workplace that allows employees to be passionate about what they do and why they do it. 

It’s clear the bandwagon is just about filled to capacity but there is always room for one more passenger who believes that engagement is the key to business success as I do.  I recently saw a feature story on Tony Robbins, the great motivational speaker in Fortune magazine. He’s got a new book out on finance, but in the article they mention his new passion and I’m sure you can guess what it is… employee engagement. I had to laugh when I saw this and said hey, I’m in good company.  A few weeks later I opened up the December issue of Costco Connections magazine in which my work is featured and lo and behold who else is in there, the aforementioned Tony Robbins, only this time it’s about his new personal finance book. 

While I may not teach people how to walk across hot coals as Tony does, I do focus on getting people to look in the mirror and face up to their own feelings about the work they do and how much passion they either have or don’t have for it.

My goal for 2015 is to continue to drive the bus.  Others will continue to hop on and offer their advice, and that’s great, but not many of them can truthfully say they have gone through this personally like I have.

If you want to be driven on the journey towards high engagement, then why wouldn’t you want to do this with an authentic and credible guide? Give me a call at 415-308-3344 or reach out to me at ruth@rsquaredresources and ride with someone who is driving the employee engagement conversation.

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