ABOUT or WITH.
You're either meeting about your employees ... or ... you're meeting with your employees.
I Google'd employee engagement as I was writing this post. Here's a screenshot of the results. 19.9 million results in .28 seconds.
That's a lot of discussion about employees and their engagement. Mine's in there too. And the percentage of employees excited and enthusiastic, engaged, bringing their A-game every day remains where it was ten years ago. About 30%.
If meeting ABOUT your employees was going to solve anything doncha think it would have by now? 19.9 million results in .28 seconds. What if Google had searched for .56 seconds?
Don't you think it's time to try something different?
Don't you think it's time to meet WITH your employees?
Listen to them, in an unscripted conversation. Like people sometimes do. That's where the connections are made. Connections equal engagement. That's where the line of sight to purpose and mission is sustained. Not in mission statements floated down from on high, but in conversations, giving and taking, talking and listening.
Sure, it's messy and unpredictable. Kinda like a good barbecue sandwich. You don't know where or when the good stuff will squirt out, but it will. And that's the fun of sharing it with a group of people. Breaks down social contrivances, makes people laugh and be human again. That's when the real conversation starts.
I'm going out on a limb here ... but what if you stopped by where you're employees are working? And you brought with you some gooey, messy desserts, like a hut fudge sundaes or a hot gooey fudge brownies or a barbecue sandwiches? You forgot to bring enough napkins ... And you plopped them down on a desk and invited them to come join you. You, being the leader, went ahead and dove into that treat, showed 'em it's okay to smile and relax and laugh a little bit.
I'm willing to bet, after the shock of seeing you, your employees will join in with you. Smiling, relaxing, laughing a little bit. Pretty soon, you're not employee and employer, you're people. Engaging. In some fun. Learning to listen, learning to understand each other. Trust each other. I mean if you can spill hot fudge on your shirt and laugh well then you can trust each other to talk about ... awkward things or challenges or what's working or what you'd like to work.
I mean c'mon. It's gotta be more productive than another powerpoint presentation on 10 ways we can motivate our employees or The Four Pillars of Culture Alignment. ( Who talks like that, anyway.)