Friday, 12 July 2019

Commoditizing employee engagement

There was a time when putting “employee engagement” into your browser brought forth pages of information relating to employee surveys.

“Looking to increase engagement? You must have a survey”, t’internet suggested.

No doubt all those survey providers were investing in SEO to bring their particular platform or product to the fore.

Nowadays, we’re seeing more and more links to technology.

“Looking to increase engagement? You need our product or tool”, those clever SEO types are now suggesting.

Have we really reached that level? When the field of employee engagement, with its broad spectrum of factors and component elements, is being commoditized in this way? So that SEO leads the uninitiated to equate engagement with the latest online tool or platform?

Of course, enlightened organisations committed to engagement as a method of business improvement – what David MacLeod used to call “transformational engagement” – ignore all this and get on with what they know matters. But I do worry that those new to the field: it can be amorphous, given its broad expanse, and I would hate to think that anyone does see new technology as a shortcut to success and then become disillusioned when it inevitably fails to meet expectations.

We’ve probably all seen people dazzled by the latest technology – what I’ve previously described as “shiny new toy syndrome” – rather than analysing what they’re trying to achieve and why, before identifying the best method(s). There is a danger of that becoming more prevalent: a risk that the proliferation of new platforms somehow becomes the story of engagement, rather than a tool that aids success.

I urge anyone exploring employee engagement for the first time to be aware of – and guard against – that risk!

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