The great engagement swindle

I’ve written before about employee engagement, but its a subject that can’t take enough kickings.

I’ll put it simply, employee engagement is the biggest corporate swindle since Asil Nadir thought, “no-one will notice”.

Let’s be clear:

Engagement does not pay the bills.
Engagement won’t cover your medical costs when you take a fall.
Engagement won’t keep the heating on in your retirement.
Engagement doesn’t make you healthy or happy or even a better lover.

Engagement doesn’t even have a standard meaning, definition or measure. It’s a fabrication.

The biggest con about employee engagement? The goal is to drive commercial success, whilst dressing it up as employee welfare. Look at any purveyor of employee engagement services and they will talk about driving business performance.

Employee engagement doesn’t replace talking to people, caring for people, listening to people. It doesn’t replace paying people well, investing in their benefits and providing a decent pension scheme.

Do things right as an organisation, treat people well, don’t treat them like fodder and you’ll be surprised how much they’ll do for you. Not because they’re engaged, but because they want to.

How about we measured leadership engagement instead? How engaged is your leadership team with employees? How well do they know them? When was the last time they had a human to human conversation with someone in the organisation they didn’t know?

Employee engagement is the classic example of human resources forgetting about humans and focussing on resources. It’s bad mumbo jumbo dressed up as science.

Employee engagement is an idea that’s long over stayed it’s welcome. Let’s kill this vacuous, malevolent concept once and for all.