I was approached recently by a large organisation to go and talk to them about ‘Engagement’. The issue that they were having was that when they put customer in front of engagement, Marketing wanted to own it. But, when they put employee in front of it then HR wanted to own it.

I tell people about this story and they smile, knowingly.

Therefore, my client wanted me to come along and share a few ideas with them about what I have seen and had learned about the connection between the two and, to, effectively, referee a wrestling match between Marketing and HR (I’m only partly kidding). However, the overall objective was to help them come up with a way of figuring out what engagement meant for their organisation and how both departments could work together on the issue.

Now, I’ve written about this before in:

But, I haven’t written about it in a while.

So, a wee while ago I saw the following article (http://blog.biworldwide.co.uk/employee-engagement—on-the-right-track.html) and it made me think a bit more about engagement. This article and the ones it refers to seem to indicate that for many organisations they look at employee engagement as a stand-alone issue. The article argues that whilst there is a lot of attention being paid to creating an engaging workplace and engaged workforces, it is being handled in isolation by HR and that clear links are not, necessarily, being made to how improved employee engagement will deliver real business benefits.

Professor Ivan Robertson, writing in The Guardian, suggests that improving peoples attitudes to work does not necessarily mean that they will be more productive, work harder or improve performance. But, data and insight from Gallup and Kenexa show the business benefits of an engaged workforce.

What’s the difference? I would bet that the organisations typified by the high performers in the Gallup and Kenexa research have made the connections, that investing in your people and your environment has to have expected dividends.

So, what does this mean? Well, I would suggest that we should not pursue employee engagement for engagement’s sake. Right? We are in business after all.

Investment in employee engagement should be conducted with expected benefits in terms of better lower staff turnover, higher customer satisfaction or repeat business or something like that.

Also, the employee engagement issue cannot just sit in the HR department. As an initiative it has to bust out of a departmental focus to become something that is an intrinsic part of the business, the planning process, expected business benefits and the targets that get set and monitored over time.

What do you think? I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Thanks to BetterWorks for the image.

Note: I write these posts because I am passionate about great service and helping companies get more value and growth out of the customer relationships they already have. If you’d like to find out more about how I do that then get in touch here. Alternatively, sign up for my monthly newsletter here.

 

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