Is employee engagement this simple? If an employee feels that their employer doesn’t care then do they stop caring about what they’re doing?

2013 saw a huge surge in conversations around employee engagement; conferences, podcasts, toolkits from the government but have we actually made any difference. With papers coming out about CEOs thinking it’s a load of rubbish you have to question how much is actually making a difference. Yes budgets come into it but do we really understand what disengages people in the workforce and how to tackle it?

Do we use our HR teams and exit interviews to the best of our ability so that we understand why people leave, what makes them feel valued… We know that a survey can tell us a percentage of people that like working somewhere or feel that they trust their manager or that they are listened to but what does that really tell us? How does that help us really change how we engage with our teams. And while the work the government are doing is great, how much of that is hitting businesses outside the group? And can one toolkit really be fit for every business and every culture? Surely we have to start from the inside and then draw on these tools if they fit.

I also think we should look at the role individuals do and see how that correlates. In a frontline role where you have to serve customers there is no escaping your job. So engaged or not, if you turn up you have to work. You might not go out of your way to deliver great service or a great product but you have to do the job. In other roles, more office based or project roles, the tasks completed are not always because they have to be. Yes we have to recruit, do the accounts and the legal stuff but some of these roles add value based on the department doing things because they should or because they can, not because they have to… Disengage those people and you’re in trouble. They can turn up and hide behind the tasks they have to do, adding no extra value to the business, engage them and they will
Do whatever they can for the good of the business. But how?

So if we look at role and then we look at why they feel they way do (hopefully before they leave) then maybe we can start to measure and understand the psychology behind employee engagement and what we need to do to make sure we have a culture to be proud of. We could also look at the impact if disengagement by role so we can see what impact it has on the bottom line. That would serve to prove whether CEOs should have this on their agenda or not. I have heard all to often that people will work whether they’re engaged or not but I would love to see if this is linked to what they do.

With this in mind I’m going to think about how I could bring this to life inside the organisation I work for, and if there is any research out there for this please show me where!