The Employee Engagement Lifeboat


Varying from poor to great, employee engagement can be nurtured and increased phenomenally, or lost and thrown away.

Organisations have often strived to create conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential. In the modern age, we call the process – employee engagement. It is something based on trust, integrity, two-way commitment and communication between an organisation and its members.

It is held in such high esteem, primarily for the benefits it brings to the table. Also, the approach increases the chances of business success, contributing to organisational and individual performance, productivity and well-being. Varying from poor to great, employee engagement can be nurtured and increased phenomenally, or lost and thrown away.

Employee Engagement: What it means to you, me and everyone else
Engagement is an attitude. Employee engagement is waking up and thinking, “Great, I’m heading off to work. I know my action plans for the day. I have a couple of great ideas on how to do it well. And I’m looking forward to seeing the team and working well with them today.”

All in all, the engagement one seeks from his or her employees is directly derivative of the organisational leader at the time. For any head, it is important to ask, “Am I engaged myself?”

After all, it’s a bit much to ask for engagement, if you as a leader are not engaged.

There is a reason why engaged organisations, not merely employee-engaged organisations, have strong and authentic values. They present a clear evidence of trust and fairness based on mutual respect, where two-way commitments, oaths and promises – between employers and employees – are understood and fulfilled.

If people see that the leader is very closely attached or very closely engaged to the job that she or he is trying to deliver, they are more likely to come and join in the effort.

Employee engagement: What it means to employers
While the term itself is human resources, treating human beings like commodities never bodes well for anyone. Think of how slavery is scorned upon. Employees have often complained about their organisations dismissing their needs over rules, often viewing them more as contracts for their respective jobs.

Be hard and steady when you discuss numbers, yes. Allow leeway when you discuss humans. After all, numbers don’t react to decisions in a positive or negative manner, humans do.

Here, employee engagement is about drawing on our employees’ knowledge and ideas to improve product lines and services; come across as innovative about how we work.

Employee engagement will always be about our employees feeling loyal and proud to work for the organisation, and being great advocates of the organisation to our clients, users and customers. It is about going the extra mile to finish a piece of work.

Employee Engagement: What it is not
Employee engagement is not and cannot be achieved by a mechanistic approach. Here, ‘mechanistic approach’ implies a discretionary effort by manipulating employees’ commitment and emotions. In the modern age, employees tend to see through such attempts quickly and can often become cynical and disillusioned towards an organisation.

It’s best to not treat engagement that way; after all, it may very well be an organisational lifeboat that gives you a competitive edge someday.

(The author is senior associate – insight marketer, at Mettl. He is currently developing content around psychometric assessments and has previously published a book in the fantasy genre titled ‘Tempestatem’ in 2015.)

(An HR Industry Promotional Initiative)


  1. Great article! It is of course true that Innovative, creative and meaningful employee engagement activities can help you reap more benefits than you can think of.

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