Don’t Believe The Employee Engagement Hype
What distinguishes a timeless classic piece of leadership thinking from a flash-in-the-pan, flavour-of-the-month, keep-a-consultant-employed piece of hype? Names and labels may come and go and employee engagement as a phrase might be a relatively new kid on the block but the principles seem pretty timeless to me. This article cites a few problems with the current enamour with whatever people think employee engagement might be: lack of definition, lack of valid measures, it’s not new, lack of evidence and over-hyped claims. These criticisms would be true of anyone claiming anything about anything. And they’re a great place to start in critiquing a piece of leadership thinking that you weren’t previously familiar with.
I’d agree with his sentiments in general, particularly the first one – lack of definition. I’ve been very strong on having a specific definition and distinguishing it from even more fuzzy concepts such as employee morale, satisfaction and happiness. I define it quite narrowly as the observation of discretionary effort – people doing more than they have to because they choose to. From that narrow and specific definition, it’s a lot easier to address the issues of measurement, evidence and hype.