Employee Engagement or Lack Thereof? #TChat Preview

One thing it know is true about the world of work: All business leaders say they want to engage with employees. They know it’s a way to retain talent, hold off attrition, boost productivity and support job satisfaction. However, they don’t know why engagement really matters, because they don’t know really what engagement is.

Most leaders sense that engagement is a soft skill – a skill they don’t have. You’d think that leaders in HR and other disciplines would come with soft skills built into their DNA, but that’s not the case. Many people come to HR from the risk–compliance management spectrum; not all have equal strengths, intuition or training in psychology, motivational leadership or cognitive sciences to count mindfulness as a core skill. Yet this soft skill set is needed to be an expert in employee engagement.

When you’re a direct report—even dotted line—to executive management, you’re dealing with spreadsheets, numbers, percentages and formulas. Engagement is an abstract notion and tough to measure using a formula or process analysis. It’s fine to be analytical: I am; most introverts are. But you also must have antennae up all the time for the nuances of human interchange: the averted glance, the nervous tic, the anxious re-arrangement of articles on a desk, the bold stare with irregular blinks, the pinking of complexion that reveal what a person is really feeling, really thinking. All are cues that tell a state of mind, and all tells for engagement or lack thereof.

This week on #TChat Twitter we’re going to examine employee engagement—i.e., the lack of it, the skills needed for it, the mindful state required to understand the very notion of it. It’s a controversial topic. Some of us are data-driven, and some are emotion-driven. But we all need to discuss, and attempt to understand, what drives employee engagement. So here are this week’s questions:

Q1: We hear so much about lack of employee engagement, but what exactly is “engagement” and why?

Q2: Is it simply toxic leadership that affects culture and engagement, or more than that?

Q3: Are stretch assignments and risk-taking important to employee engagement? Why or why not?

Q4: What can employees do to improve their own mindful engagement investment? What about leaders?

Q5: How can technology facilitate and improve employee engagement? How can it hurt?

Are your pumpkins out on the front step yet? Please join us Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 5-6pm MT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are) to explore employee engagement—the roles that leaders and employees alike must fill, and those that employers must be responsible for, as organizations. Peppering our conversation will be discussion of the roles that new (and old) technologies play, as well, in facilitating employee engagement.

I will moderate (look for me @MeghanMBiro). Joining us will be Kevin W. Grossman (@KevinWGrossman), the rest of the #TChat gang and, most importantly, you. Please bring your thoughts, tips and guidance to the show. Perhaps we can, together, learn a bit more about how to foster employee engagement. It’s a worthy topic.

Image credit: Aleksandra P./GiniMiniGi