Mar 23, 2010

Employee Engagement Should Not be Your End Goal

Ok, I know I am going to face a lot of flak for this, but I am going to blurt it out anyway.

HR people who think their holy grail is increasing their employee engagement score are sorely mistaken.

Employee engagement is important, no doubt. However what it does is create energy for discretionary effort by the employees for the organization. What then? How should HR people leverage that enormous source of discretionary energy towards the really important things?

Unfortunately, not too many people think about that. Not HR people. Not business heads. In my opinion they all aim low.

As I have been exploring how people interact on social media - and engage with each other (something that you would find if you go through our presentations here) people are engaged by larger purposes - and you need to hire them towards a cause and then work towards that larger cause. Causes give purpose and meaning. Not everybody will identify with it - but those that do, will added more of their self and be more passionate.

So that brings us back to the question what should be your goal?

As HR people I believe that that our goal should be to guide people's development so that skills, mindsets evolve to keep organizational capability growing.

That means that engaged employees should be aware of and know which direction the firm is headed and make connections (with guidance, mentoring and support) to chart their own future development needs and make that aspired state a reality.

This does not mean an HR function that centralises and owns every person's development goals and tracking it on a Learning Management System. What I am looking at is that HR should create conditions so that from engagement people can move on their own towards their development.


Think emergence.

Ideas? Doubts? Disagreements? Leave a comment below :)