Employee Engagement: It Takes More Than Motions

July 10, 2013
# min read
Paradigm Associates LLC

It appears that many organizations go through the motions of establishing engagement cultures and often times go no farther. The intent is communicated upfront. Executives start the buzz with direct reports, continued buzzing about engagement comes out in the company newsletter, HR begins to frantically look for more room on the plate, and an internal news release surfaces. As the buzz percolates, employees begin to hunker down for another surge into unknown waters.


They soon find out when emails are sent to each of them. Lots of hype and enthusiasm is generated. Indeed, each of them has been requested to respond to a short survey that will identify the perceived level of employee engagement in the company. Soon after, data collected is compiled with a slick color-coded report indicating levels of engagement and areas in need of strengthening in the organization. Interestingly enough, the report is passed around with brief discussion about the results. However, there is a desire to move forward with a plan of execution. A steering team is identified and advised to put together an action plan with deadlines in place for "project completion." The momentum is gaining. The plan is established with communication drivers positioned and ready to march forward with direction and actions. It is an exciting time with brief glimpses of the "desired state."

And then a gap begins to surface in the initial intent. The event slowly loses focus and energy as motion becomes more important than action. Questions begin to appear at meetings and small groups: "Was the approach unclear? Did the intent fail to win minds in the workplace? What happened to the drivers? And to be sure, was it an unnecessary cost? 

Pushing engagement forward takes more than words. It requires awareness, understanding, and skill development of essential engagement tools. It also requires leadership, commitment, and patience as the engagement culture slowly emerges into the workplace. It is a time when the weak-hearted must step aside. Indeed, this is a time when the organization must go beyond mobilizing and provide clear communication, resources, and grassroots leadership. It is a time to capture the head, hearts and hands of all employees through planned actions that are executed with measurable results. 

We hope and encourage you to decide to move engagement beyond motions and into a culture shift that maximizes the potential of all employees.

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