Last week i read an article by Pat Galagan titled “Employee Engagement: An Epic Failure?” This enlightening article revealed some startling facts based on new research: best performers may be less engaged than weak performers; the link between engagement and profitability includes too many variables to be an accurate predictor of performance; and all the efforts at improving employee engagement have yielded poor results.
Oh my! That information is really disheartening since many companies have put such effort into surveys and programs to increase engagement. So, if it’s not really working on a global level what can we do?
The enormity of the issue got me thinking about my experiences as a speaker at the Rotary World Peace conference. World Peace - now that really is an enormous challenge. The general discussion throughout the conference was how we can effect peace, which reminded me of the old church prayer “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” So, the answer for me was the importance of taking personal responsibility and becoming engaged in the process. It’s all about individual engagement.
With that in mind I started to wonder what would happen if we each took responsibility for our own “engagement.” Our engagement – wherever we are – is about how we communicate with others. Most of us have had a conversation with a friend or family member that was so engaging that the time flew by and we felt like a million bucks by talking with them. Hmmm…what if we recreated that in our workplace? It is possible ---- with a small mindset change.
Consider this: What if, on an individual basis, we could be totally present in a conversation? No distractions, just listening, watching and paying attention to what the other person said. I sure feel good when that happens to me. What if we could stop ourselves from talking over, dismissing or over-riding what others had to say? It could encourage others to speak up, share ideas and help us all move forward together. That’s a pretty engaging experience. When a problem arises, what if we could set aside blame and really look at the process or circumstances that caused it and work together to solve it? Solving problems together brings people together and builds strong, engaged teams.
It’s all in the conversations we have with each other. Engagement starts with you – how you connect with others; how committed you are to really understanding what’s being said; how you encourage others to share and participate. The human connection is one of the most powerful things in the world. It holds us together in relationships both at work and at home. We’ve seen amazing things happen with the Tools in Revolutionary Conversations™ workshops and trainings.
Listen to yourself and others and see what happens. Think about how the outcomes might change if the conversation had been different. Then give it a try – you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.