Have you? Have you seen or heard the employee when you're meeting about 'employee engagement?'
If you haven't, don't worry. You're not alone.
Where, in all the blogs and articles and video and powerpoints and instagraphics and comments and ... studies and reports and s-s-s-urveys, is the employee? I’m trying to remember the last article I read written from the employee’s perspective. Can you find one? If you can, share it.
Yes, I know there are articles written by employees for their managers and execs about those disengaged employees, their peers, creating this problem. But ... anyway.
Have you seen any articles by employees, sharing their opinion of surveys and baubles and trinkets and all the posts, including mine, discussing the ten ways to do this or that TO them, not with them or even for them. Have you seen any videos from employees, even with their faces hidden behind kerchiefs, where they share their opinion of blog posts and articles on ‘how to motivate them ... me?’ Same with podcasts, even with their voice distorted for anonymity’s sake?
Does that strike anyone as ironic? Employees aren’t engaged in all the frothy discussion about ‘their’ problem of disengagement. There’s an even lower percentage of employees engaged in these discussions about employee engagement. How’s that been working out? Rather than walk around the corner to engage with employees about their world, management would rather keep them at arm’s length and meet about them.
Imagine Thanksgiving Day Dinner with the majority of the family off in the den where there’s no TV and no wifi, eating leftovers off TV trays, knowing they’re being discussed by ‘the favorite kids’ in the other room eating big chunks of turkey and slices of pecan pie, just out of the oven. Yeah. See, that’s kinda funny doncha think? Okay, not so funny if you've experienced it. Sorry.
Everyone’s talking about employees, no one’s inviting them to the meetings to discuss ‘their problem’ and what to do about ‘them.’ Management is meeting about them, not with them. Management is not engaging employees in the conversation around their day, their strengths, their dreams and wishes and what’s lacking in their job and what scripts are stupid and rigid and what’s a better way to say that.
No, surveys don't count. Here's why. Employees know that's a weak surrogate for real and meaningful discussion. It's a safe, controlled for your agenda - absent theirs. It's sorta like asking But enough about me, what do YOU think about me? So, rather than engage about employee engagement, what if you engaged ... with your employees?
- Use their first name. Ask them how are you and how’s your weekend.
- Ask what works and what doesn’t work?
- Ask what they need now to reach their goals?
- What are your goals, ask them that.
- Answer their questions about ‘what is our company’s goal and why does it matter to me?’
- Oh, and then do something about their recommendations.
- Disclaimer: if this is your first time, don't be surprised if they stare and stutter. They may think you're an apparition, having to that moment only heard of you and never seen you in person. Be prepared to earn their trust.
That sounds like a lot more fun than reading summaries of surveys, doesn’t it? It sounds like a lot more fun than another meeting about ‘disengaged employees.’ If nothing else, it’s unpredictable. Oh wait, yeah, that’s a problem for many.
Well, here’s a newsflash. If predictable meetings and powerpoints, surveys and reports, could make 70% of your employees engaged and excited about their challenges and the resources you’ve provided to help them solve those challenges I think by now we’d have 70% engagement and not 70% disengagement.