Employee engagement has become a buzzword with
no meaning in some workplace. What
some managers really mean, is that they are engaged in theoretical discussions.
They seem to think that if they loudly declare that their whole workforce is engaged, even if
few people are, they will be considered a great place to work.
Research has proven, what many of
us have known for years; engaged employees
are more productive, but it is all too
common for organizations to have no idea what that means, in terms
of organizational and employee behavior.
Too many consultants promise to create employee
engagement, when they mean they’ll conduct management training in active
listening, and changing lexicon. Ask an employee if they’ve increased their
participation, or feel more
appreciated, or what they think about the “new” efforts to “engage” them, and
they’ll look at you as if you are speaking Martian.
Organizations measure employee engagement
through an in-house survey, asking employees if they’re happy. If I worked in
one of those organizations, no matter how much confidentiality management, or
HR promised me, there is no way that I would be comfortable being completely
The term “employee engagement” has become like
the term “diversity” in many organizations; someone gets hired as manager of
diversity, or employee engagement, but they’re not given any authority, or a
budget to do anything, except
attend a conference and hear speakers.
Organizations still resist developing a new kind
of culture where employees are given opportunities to use talents, and genius
that no one knew they had. You can’t “engage” employees unless you ask
employees for their ideas. What a concept!
Instead of talking about employee engagement, let’s talk
about discovering, utilizing, and leveraging employee genius at every level.
Let’s talk about creating a sense of community in organizations, where every
day employees, can be integral members of that community, and develop their own
passion to help the “workplace community,” be successful. This is how we
develop ETO, or Employee Talent Optimization.
Instead of employee
engagement, let’s use the term ETO, Employee Talent Optimization.
Here are three steps
that employers can take to create Employee Talent Optimization
Identify the characteristics of a participatory
workplace culture, by asking employees what they need in order to be able to
demonstrate their skills and talents.
Determine the skills and talents that are needed
in order to dramatically improve your products and services, and provide that
information to employees with incentives for contributing their “personal
Where possible, create systems and processes to
solicit employee success ideas at every level. Ask for suggestions that would make it easier for them to do their
jobs so they could be more productive,
ways to provide more distinct customer service, and best practices to save money, time, and
You might discover that some of
the work you were outsourcing like social networking strategy, or external
technical training, could be done by people in your organization, who not only
have the talent and experience, but also have the passion for it.