Getting Engagement to Work Again!

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Einstein.

Picture this scenario: every year or two, an engagement survey is done at great cost. The top three to five “burning issues” are identified. Roadshows are conducted to bring the results to employees, complete with what’s going to be done to correct the situation. A “compelling employee value proposition” is presented. This includes what leaders will do to make it easier for employees to do their work. Corporate specialists in HR will facilitate the solutions, which most often comprises of implementing more “market related” compensation and benefits. Hence, leaders and HR bring neatly packaged solutions, which only require employees to “be more engaged”. A few months later, with employees more jaded than before, the process is repeated with another flavour, and unsurprisingly, engagement hasn’t gone up! Sound familiar?

All this comes from the current philosophy that engagement is seen as the degree to which individuals are motivated and energized in their work, which can be achieved by creating a “conducive environment.” This is influenced by management and is typically an HR responsibility to enable employees to raise performance”. The question is why do we continue to indulge in this when the results do not change? What is a better way to solve this?

The answer lies in seeing differently. Once we look at a situation differently, we respond differently and get different results. One way of seeing employee engagement differently is to view it as something that benefits the individual, the team and the organization, since it is about living and working in ways that feel joyful. It requires of each individual person to make the choice to engage. Both leaders and employees have co-responsibility for creating the conditions needed for everyone to act from high energy, and with full commitment. This would include internal AND external conditions for self AND others. The principles guiding this hold true both at work and in life.

How do we respond to this different way of seeing engagement? Everyone needs to understand what drives their own engagement. They are then poised to accept personal responsibility, and a shared/team responsibility with significant others. The way they’ll do it is through Interdependence (synergy), connection to three levels of purpose (Relational, Work/Role, Situational) and through the effective use of Strengths Strategies to energize self and others. No more elaborate, grand schemes externally applied to employees (although the intent is to do it for employees, which still falls short of doing it with employees).

Imagine you can see engagement in this way, and how you AND others bring your best to serve others, more people and the greater good. What if you find out there are different strategies in place already to make this shift? You can find out more about seeing differently by downloading the complementary first chapter of our upcoming book, “People Acuity – Revolutionizing Results and Relationships” here, and see what else is offered on that site. You can also contact me here.


Sources: Content based on the research of People Acuity’s thought leaders DeAnna Murphy, Steve Jeffs and Lisa Gregory, and author’s own experience over many years.


Tinus Van Der Merwe
Strengths Strategy Coach and Business Development Partner, People Acuity



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