Shift happens. Let’s shift engagement from an employee focus to a work focus.
Detach engagement from employee role. I believe it is time to move beyond employee engagement to un-employee engagement. Un-employee engagement detaches engagement from our role of employee and attaches it to the work we do.
Flexible engagement. We must encourage and educate all people in the workplace for engagement. Engagement helps an organization remain viable and an employee valuable but if the nature of work changes (layoffs etc.) the person maintains their full engagement towards work and it is easier to shift how they engage in new work, roles, or contexts.
Engagement – now and forever. I am saddened by how many “employees” (front line workers, leaders, managers) have experienced layoffs over the past 4 months (over 2 million in the United States). Every day we read a new headline announcing a few thousand more employees released by a floundering organization. Did these organizations do enough to engage people while they were at work and to develop powerful engagement practices for new roles or contexts?
Engaged performance / engaged project management. Do our organizations do enough to prepare current organizational contributors for changes in employment and work? We are doing all of our employees a disservice with a narrow focus on employee engagement. Would we be of greater assistance to employees and their current and future approaches to work by joining engagement with more transferable words such as work engagement, performance engagement or engaged project management? I believe we would and I have subtlety shifted my approach to engagement in this direction over the past 18 months. With the economic upheaval I think this engagement shift must be more dramatic and bold.
Legacy of engagement. Should an employee lose their job or decide to be self-employed they would have a more transferable perspective or outlook on engagement in regards to their work. It takes tremendous energy, stamina and determination to engage in looking for, or creating, work after a layoff.
Employee engagement is antiquated. Within organizations we need to maximize engagement, perhaps more now than ever, but it is becoming both antiquated and counterproductive to attach the word engagement to the narrow role of employee.
Adaptive, agile and authentic career engagement. If organizations foster engaged performance, engaged work, and engaged project management they are helping people within the organization develop skills, attitudes, emotions, and perspective that they can utilize within the organization and also take with them wherever or however they work. Career development is one of the keys to foster employee engagement and we can make a powerful contribution to work by fostering adaptive, agile, authentic, and creative career engagement.
We did our best. Organizations must be economically viable. If they need to cut positions they can feel more comfortable letting go of people they prepared to engage in work regardless of who they work for or how they go about working.
Are you ready for “un-employee engagement?” What do you think? Is it time to join engagement with other terms at work? Are you ready for a fresh approach moving beyond a simplistic engagement in a specific role to a more pervasive engagement in work or un-employee engagement?
Future posts. Watch for further explanations and discussion of how we can move beyond employee engagement.
Engage along with me, the best is yet to be.