Making it real
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When I wrote the original definition of real employee engagement, I was wrong. I usually am wrong about 50% of the time but being wrong promotes learning and revisions so being open to being wrong feels quite right to me.
I recently wrote the real definition of employee engagement:
Good work, done well, with others, on a daily basis.
I loved the down-to-earth elegant simplicity of the definition but I forgot something. Supposedly Albert Einstein said, make things as simple as possible but no simpler. I think I was too simple with the first definition. I had neglected the first principle of my 10 principles of engagement, first composed in January of 2008 and revised in 2010. The first principle stated:
Employee engagement is specific. We cannot sustain engagement all the time and everywhere. When we talk about engagement we need to ask: Who is engaged, with what, for how long, and for what purpose?
I now believe the new real definition of employee engagement must add:
Good work, done well, with others, on a daily basis to …
You need to complete the “to …” What result is it that you seek from engagement? This could range from safety and wellbeing to profits, cost reductions, or lean processes. Ensure your engagement work has a direction.
For example, I was working with a group on employee engagement and customer experience. As I thought about the real definition of engagement for their purposes, I added:
Good work, done well, with others, on a daily basis to enrich the customer and employee experience.
This definition offered focus and direction to engagement and offered a specific purpose to the engagement work.
David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert on his way to a better way of working with work.