Going the distance has at least two meaning.
The first meaning is in completing the race…going the full distance. Another meaning, for me today, is to take a distant view of close things. A wise person once said, “we need to take a close view of distant things and a distant view of close things.”
Because of snowy weather delays I am spending extra time in a uranium mine in Northern Saskatchewan above the 58th parallel. This is giving me the opportunity to take a little more “distant” view of employee engagement.
Here are 4 things that have caught me eye about engagement:
Community, community, community. Engagement grows stronger through authentic community and organizations will need to capture more of a community approach to organization if they are to thrive in 2009. I have had it with the old pyramid model of organizations. If someone is on top of me don’t expect me to be engaged. If we are in community, and different roles and functions are needed, I am much more likely to engage in the community because I am a part of the community and the community is a part of me.
Engagement is not a fluffy extra. Because of the economic mayhem I think employee engagement is vulnerable to being dismissed as a fluffy extra just when we will need it the most. As companies cast employees off their payrolls those who remain may be cajoled into working harder and being engaged by threat…if you can’t do it we can find someone who can. If engagement is to sustain itself if must be of benefit to all. If you threaten me, don’t expect engagement. At the most, I will give you begrudging compliance.
Engagement occurs through disengagement. Full engagement requires periods of disengagement. Perhaps you don’t have to travel to a uranium mine in Northern Saskatchewan but how do you develop perspective on yourself and your work. Without perspective it can be difficult to see what changes we can make. Without disengagement we can approach higher levels of work exhaustion or even burnout.
A community of practice. I have been inspired and enlivened by how many people have joined The Employee Engagement Network within the first year. I hope we move from a social and information network to a true community of practice that makes a significant difference in employee engagement not only for the members but everyone each member of the network touches in their work. I hope we will make use of each other’s services and let other organizations know about the services we offer.
Engage along with me, the best is yet to be.