Engagement Marketing

Employee Engagement: Walking the Walk

In this week’s internal marketing workshop in New Orleans, I had a wonderful group of attendees interested in learning how to better engage employees. They came from a variety of organizations at different stages of internal marketing – ranging from those already doing it (and doing it well) to those just getting into it.

What was disconcerting was hearing about situations where management freely “talks the talk” but doesn’t “walk the walk” … i.e., they green light the launch of new employee incentives and recognition programs but don’t follow through consistently to support them.

Cycle of Cynicism

All this does is create a cycle of cynicism where employees don’t buy into company programs because management has no credibility. Then when faced with motivational programs that don’t work, the clueless in charge approve the creation of yet more initiatives that, without appropriate support & follow-through, are doomed to fail. Frustrated by the waste of resources put into these “flavor-of-the-month” programs, employee cynicism only deepens.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to dealing with this situation. Ideally, someone in the organization needs to convince management of its credibility gap. (“Look, the emperors have no clothes! Or are we into an extreme version of business-casual?”)

Sometimes management just doesn’t get it. So people continue to ride wave after wave of short-lived employee motivation programs.

Crossing the Chasm

If this describes your organization, you need to assess your tolerance threshold:

  • Maybe you can find some amusement in seeing what management is going to come out with next.
  • Maybe you can hang in there despite management.
  • Or maybe it’s time to find a place where management’s credibility gap isn’t an issue.

So have fun with it, hang in there, or best of luck!

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