Is it just me, or is the term “employee engagement” rapidly becoming a buzzword – popular as workplace window dressing, and perhaps sexy to say, but lacking in substance? If so, I think it would be a mistake to let the spin doctors snatch it without a good fight. After all, there’s plenty of industrial-strength ammo available for a winning battle.
For example, hundreds of talent-minded professionals came together yesterday for a #TChat session focused on the “what, why and how” of employee engagement. The quantity and quality of interactions demonstrated significant depth, meaning and conviction surrounding this concept. Ideas were both grounded and inspiring – far from buzzword territory. (To see event highlights, watch the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.)
Engagement By The Numbers
But #TChat-ters aren’t the only ones who care about engagement. In a recent Aberdeen Group survey of 1300 global business leaders, employee engagement emerged as one of the top five business priorities. That really shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, engaged employees are productive employees – and productive employees drive business performance.
So, we know that company leaders think engagement counts. But that raises two related questions:
1) Is the term “engagement” universally understood? In a word, no. And that’s a problem, as TalentCulture’s Meghan Biro indicated in a recent Forbes commentary, outlining the “5 Whys” of Employee Engagement.
At best-in-class companies, 72% of employees rate themselves as “highly engaged.” That means, even under the best conditions, almost 30% of the workforce IS NOT highly engaged.
What To Do?
Clearly, there’s room for improvement. That’s where advice from the #TChat archives can help! Taste some of the tidbits I saw in the mix. Then for a deeper dive, check out the Storify slideshow below for full highlights. You’ll walk away with better understanding of engagement’s business value. And you might discover some useful “how to” advice along the way.
“Engagement is 11 words: ‘What do you think?’ ‘How can I help.’ ‘I trust you.'” @ValaAfshar
“Engaged leaders pick up the phone when members of their teams call.” @brentskinner
“Engagement is tougher w/distributed teams. Social tools help, but we can’t rely on ‘engagement by osmosis’ anymore” @TalemetryJen
“Engagement=degree to which employees feel invested in & aligned with THEIR day-to-day experience as part of the organization.” @JsarahwatsHR
That’s #TChat. Collective insights from some of the best minds in the talent and HR community – all in one place. Freely available for the taking. The lights are always on at TalentCulture.com, so come on back whenever you need another engagement fix!
Let’s Keep The Conversation Alive
If you joined last night’s forum, which ideas mattered most to you? How will you apply them? Add comments below — or if you blog about engagement let us know by posting a Twitter link with the #TChat hashtag. We’d like to share your ideas with the TalentCulture community here and via @TalentCulture.
Coming Up on #TChat
Join us next week (Wednesday at 7pmET/4pmPT), as we continue to explore the “World of Work.” Look for a full preview next Monday via @TalentCulture and #TChat. Thanks again for your interest and your contributions!
A4: Make the time for relationships & communication – not just cranking out the work #tchatAlli Polin
A4 if toxic environment shift focus away from pleasing management to just doing the best job YOU can do. #tchatKeith Punches
A4. Leaders need to encourage continual learning for their teams to feel engaged. #tchatTerri Klass
A4. Employees should explore how their role fits into larger org; seek out expert colleagues & learn from them; shake up routine! #TchatJane Watson
A4: Question status quo, be respectful, offer alternatives. #TChatTom Bolt
A4: Focus on personal development regardless of work culture #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A4) Form a support group or start a twitter chat (just kidding….I think) #tchatnancyrubin
A4 take an active role in career and job planning – not wait for reviews and mgrs to tell what to do #TChatPaul Hebert
A4 look at your paycheck…look at the unemployment numbers…look in the mirror #tchatSteve
A4 decide what they want – what they like – where they want to be #TChatPaul Hebert
A4: Practice mindfulness before heading to work. Yes, really. #tchatBrent Skinner
A4. Employees must see learning and growing as a way of work life. #tchatTerri Klass
A4: Asking good questions is a sign of mindful engagement. #TChatAndrew Henck
A4: Employees and leaders are not always different people 🙂 #tchatTL Frasqueri-Molina
A4: Keep lines of communication open. For ideas to be heard you have to listen first… Two way street. #TChatTom Bolt
Q5: How can technology facilitate and improve employee engagement? How can it hurt? #TChat #TChatMark Babbitt
A5: Without tech, there’d be no #TChat. But there’d still be a world of work. :-)Brent Skinner
A5: For this Engineer, Technology IS the biggest reason to be engaged at work! #TChatJanis Stacy
Precisely! @TerriKlass A5. We need to use both technology and relationship building side by side to engage. #tchatErin Colleen Goodell
A5 At this moment I’m using tech as a tool to engage. Love it. Feel connected, free to share. Tech can enhance connection, commitment #tchatExpertus
a5. People detest change and cling to comfort zones, tech is a brave new world changing by the second. #tchatMichael Clark
a5. People are more afraid of being social than understanding how to integrate tech. #tchatMichael Clark
#TChat a5: tech can limit engagement too- leaving some employees feeling overwhelmed and silencedMegan Rene Burkett
A5 Need to use the tool that fits the job- social media, tangible tech, f2f. We have them all at our disposal, must use wisely. #TChatMiriam Brosseau
A5: Saw some Yammer success stories. In my old org? It was quiet… silent… except for HR/Mktg >no engament #tchatAlli Polin
A5: Technology helps geographically dispersed teams remain engaged. That’s all I got on this one tonight. 🙁 #tchatBrent Skinner
A5 I would MUCH rather have a Fireside or Brown Bag Chat with the CEO than a tech solution. #tchatKeith Punches
When your attention goes to the technology not the people using the technology = watch out ~ A5 #tchatCASUDI
A5 focus on increasing connection and meaning reagardless of the tool or medium – high tech can be high touch too #tchatSusan Mazza
A5.w/o tech i’d feel like i was on an island- we even have contests (this week will be pumpkin carving)-we post pics on internal site #tchatAshley Lauren Perez<
a5. Organizations will have to create culture and space for employees to fail and learn with customers in real-time #tchatMichael Clark
A5 Technology keeps people networked even across great distances but nothing beats eye to eye think tanking…which engagement needs #tchatEnzo Guardino
A5: a) Transparency b) Transparency ~ Careful technology is a loaded weapon #TChatSean Charles
A5 Technology allows employees near and far to connect. Downfall – focus can be lost when face-to-face due to multi-tasking. #tchatAmy Do
a5. How to effectively engage real-time via teach cannot be taught in an online course, manual or book. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: Tech should not be a place where ideas grow until leaders weigh in & brainstorming dies #tchatAlli Polin
a5. Organizations must train employees how to successfully engage customers real-time, a tremendous challenge. #tchatMichael Clark
A5. We need to use both technology and relationship building side by side to engage. #tchatTerri Klass
A5. Then there’s the ‘Engagement survey’ – can technology, data analysis make it more valuable; impactful to engagement initiatives? #TchatJane Watson
a5. Engaging via tech is a subtle art that is difficult for even the best communicators. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: My org is HUGE! But employees use Yammer to share stories, crowd source solutions – connecting like that using tech is amazing. #tchatTL Frasqueri-Molina
A5. tech helps my company communicate/stay engaged/be involved since most of us work from remote locations #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5 TECH Helps w scope & speed (tools) of comm & collab BUT does not replace IRL ~ if U think it does = HURT #tchatCASUDI
#tchat A5 some will use it a a vehicle to learn and produce. Someone very shy may find it easier to engage through technology but can’t hideSage Bramhall
A5: Low tech works miracles too. Remember the handshake and press the flesh. #TChatTom Bolt
A5 There are some great platforms that help facilitate, profile sharing & team building out there. (Jostle) #TChatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A5. tech can present engagement opporunities in a non-threatening way, but can also be impersonal #tchatGuy Davis
A5: Real-time collaboration & building on ideas enhances engagement through tech or not #tchatAlli Polin
a5. People face tremendous challenges communicating IRL, much less engaging via tech #tchatMichael Clark
A5: Technology can be a gr8 (tool)
A5 Used well it can connect, support knowledge sharing, collaboration. Used poorly, it can further insulate employees from each other #TchatJane Watson
A5: Tech offers tools—they only build #engagement as much as leaders/empls are willing to use them to connect, share info & listen. #TChatShawna Kelly
A5: Technology is merely a vehicle to serve our communication, it’s the technology that engages, it’s the people who use it #tchatJen Olney
A5 Excellent online support and capability can be more engaging than a poor supervisor. #TChatIan Welsh
A5: #Technology can bridge time zones, cultures, generations… #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5: Correct application of technology enhances engagement. Technology for technology’s sake misses the purpose. #TChatTom Bolt
a5. What happens in tech, stays in tech, visible forever. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: If used incorrectly, it could hurt it, but generally speaking I think it’s a great tool to keep everyone involved and connected #tchatJoshua Barger
A5. Technology can open up a world of information and people to each of us. It can be amazing! #tchatTerri Klass
A5: Technology is not the message. It is the vehicle to deliver the message. #TChatTom Bolt
A5 Technology can greatly facilitate engagement by giving employees the best equipment and trust in usage. #TChatIan Welsh
Engage this picture: Post #TChat Sunset, Mission Beach, San Diego, CA http://pic.twitter.com/C2MW4T69Michael Clark
Author: Kathleen Kruse
Kathleen "KK" Kruse has been exploring communication, technology and business dynamics for more than 20 years. As a consultant, she focuses on the space where humans and the digital realm intersect - including brand positioning and content strategies, community building and social media, web user experience and information design, SEO visibility and integrated marketing. She became a TalentCulture.com evangelist after discovering tremendous value in connecting with like-minded "world of work" professionals at weekly #TChat events. A storyteller at heart, KK specializes in developing market-inspired content that engages and educates target audiences. She blends analytical insight, creative vision, and the power of the English language to define and develop programs and narratives that are relevant, useful and persuasive. Her efforts have won credibility and market momentum for new ventures, as well as some of the world’s most recognized companies, such as Adobe, Apple, AT&T/NCR, Claris/FileMaker, IPG Emerging Media Lab, Netscape and Yahoo!