Let's Get Engaged: #TChat Recap

It seems apt that our subhead for last night’s #TChat was “sticky” employees. …most of the attendees started out talking about the unseasonably warm weather and truthfully, the chat just heated up from there.

After all, like so many noticed, getting it wrong is the easy part:

A1: Employee recognition and engagement have remained the same in that most companies still do horribly with them both :) #tchat (via Stephen Van Vreede)

It’s true, many companies are lacking when it comes to engaging and retaining the employees they worked so hard to source and recruit. But we’re all in the world of work; we know the underlying costs of recruiting and onboarding a worker. How is it that we treat many in our workforce as the equivalent of an old, worn-out spouse, neglecting even the most basic of recognition-al tasks?

“A1 I think there’s a move toward more appreciation of employees, more honor of skills over personality. #tchat (via Inksnatcher Copy)
“A1:I think #engagement now is being used to achieve bus. objectives, not just as the end point itself! #tchat (via Catie Maillard)

Oooh, what is that, you say — a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel?

Last night, like many a Wednesday, we found ourselves smack in the middle of a chat filled to the brim with HR Practitioners, OD leaders and business owners, not to mention a cadre of executives willing to give examples, move (tweet) toward examples and admit that yes, in some cases, corporate America is getting it right. What sets the companies that are #winning apart from the rest of the herd? Following are a few key points:

  1. Engagement is not one size fits all. This was something virtually everyone agreed on. Your company culture, values and objectives have to be in alignment with those of your employees (or vice versa…usually vice versa), and those have to shape your engagement strategy. Even if it’s something simple, such as an on-site spa (okay that’s not so simple), you can still call it a strategy.
  2. Much of engagement is common sense and needs to be communicated to in-line managers. Several working practitioners (read: not consultants) mentioned that a lot of employee engagement comes down to genuinely listening and valuing employees. Trish McFarlane took it a step further, saying that she often feels that her direct reports appreciate her being real with them. Communicating this to in-line managers is sometimes tougher than it would seem, giving rise to the old adage: “People don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.” Ahem…
  3. Recognition and engagement are not synonymous. They can be used interchangeably by those who know no better, but not by HR pros and not by executives. Here at #TChat we find ourselves speaking with both. Recognition can be an instrumental part of engagement, but the two are not the same thing and should be approached and treated differently.
“Big piece of emp engagement means giving employees a voice and actually LISTENING to them #TChat #VoE (via Natasha Gabriel)
“People don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses. (This still ring true?) #tchat (via @weknownext) (via renee)

Bottom line, engagement is not something that can be begged, borrowed, purchased or stolen from another company’s handbook. It must be woven into the culture of an existing organization or baked into the culture from Day 1 of a start-up’s life. And if it all seems too tough? Consider how simple it could be:

“A2: Employees want to know that what they are doing matters and has purpose #TChat (via Erin Fitzgerald)

Can you communicate that? Great. Step 1: complete. Did you miss the preview? Click here — and check out the storify. Then, hit us up, over on Facebook — or right here, in the comments. We know you have opinions and things to say! Say ’em!

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