Is Engagement tied to Development? Why it does Matter.

UPDATE 11/14/15: 


In light of yesterday's events in France, I came to realize that, although a staunch believer of the deep linkage between Human Resource Management and Communication, I have somehow neglected this later.
Engagement stems from the acceptance of a pushed communication and translates in positive actions. Levels of engagement depend on the "quality" of the communication and the "assimilation" of that communication.
The power of communication is overwhelming. How effective is our HR communication? Yesterday's events rallied powerful images of global communication.  Communication brings light to  HR issues and HRM decisions.

Original Post (11/12/14):  

The other day at the question "Who wants to improve their metrics?" only three people in the room
raised their hands. That did not represent 1/3rd of the group. Interestingly enough, only leaders did. What should you think?

Pack comfort zone? Evidently, in a group there are leaders and the pack. Does it mean that pack members feel more secure whenever not "straying" away from their peers? I am convinced that there is that constant preconceived notion that leaders "talk" and do not "walk". So wrong! Leaders walk in more uncomfortable shoes than pack members because they have to lead the pack, clear the path and maintain some type of guidelines or standards so that goals can be attained and surpassed. When leaders have to convey messages others than their own, the pack feels it, be it disconnection or lack of conviction. Unfortunately, this is common in large organizations.

In most cases, though, there is, and sadly enough, what is called so often "pack mentality". Translated in the workplace and from employees' viewpoint, it is "us" (workers, employees) versus "them" (leaders). Workers/employees can feel threatened by work or behavior challenges. It is comfortable to stay - not necessarily on the status quo - but within what others do (the norm): do not raise your hand spontaneously because you will be putting yourself at risk for ridicule, alienation, or retaliation.

The management and/or leadership on the other hand pushes information  and programs, thinking it is communication. And this includes engagement program. We assume that because we invest in recognition efforts as part of an engagement program, and feel the moment, we think we got it right. . Changing the vibe is good, but is it enough? Let's debunk some myths:

  • Pushing information is no communication. You actually need to get credible feed-back to claim communication. Employees need to believe in your communication. You have to be able to sell it. In sum, do employees actually hear you and understand your real motives? To those who have even been in the classroom on the side of the blackboard: you know it is unsettling when students have no feedback on your "lecture". A lecture in the workplace?!...
  • Recognition efforts are not a panacea for absenteeism, high turnover and presenteeism. So, where is the key? Go to the root of the problem, and solve it first. It could be as intricate as internal environment practices/culture, compensation policy, or as simple as training or hiring issues. What do your employees have to say? Do not assume that you cannot change the matter. You can at least give an input, bring it to the table.
  • For Job to Career: Patting people on the back is not enough. So you think it's just a job for most employees? It could actually be a career to many, and more likely than not to those who do not necessarily voice it. In the case, either you have not marketed enough and communicated clearly your development program,  or have ignored those who deserve more attention. Development should be a core component of recognition and engagement.
I am going to conclude with thoughts I expressed on the HR Capitalist on his HR transposition of  Steve Jobs' definition of a computer.
Good HR is bold and daring with a sense of humanity. On Jobs' side: good HR has to be visionary, has to be the catalyst to make things happen at both the company and the employee levels.
Would that also qualify for an engaged HR? HR should not miss the point like the movie on Steve Jobs. Listening and understanding does matter. Engagement is reaching out to what people believe in, and developing a common path from there. A stronger organization stems from more enabled, better developed members.

In the light of the recent events in Mizzou that led and is still leading to the resignation of leaders and more job losses, and while it is certainly not my intent to make any possible or reasonable comparison between the issues of diversity and engagement, at all times the question remains for us: What could we do differently to make it better?

En Synthèse


Les RH: ce n'est pas du gâteau. Aussi, offrir pour ainsi dire des gâteaux pour susciter l’adhésion, ce n'est pas tout. 

Les RH, c'est une constante remise en question de nos stratégies et méthodes de communication. C'est penser au développement de nos organisations et des employés. C' est souvent des acrobaties perpétuelles pour mieux faire.

Mizzou est-il un signe que les "employés" (dans ce cas employeurs, leaders) s’étaient "endormis"? Ou devrions-nous dire "ne dormons pas sur nos lauriers"....

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