I was recently asked to speak to a management group. When told the topic was “How to Engage Employee’s in Today’s Economy,” I had to bite my lip to keep from screaming. It’s a popular subject these days, but seriously, how is engaging people now any different than engaging them in good times?
I’m not talking about HR-focused firms looking for new ways to better engage their employees. What gets me are those companies for whom employee engagement is a totally new concept. You know the ones where “our people are our greatest asset” is mere rhetoric (by the company) and wishful thinking (by the employees).
These companies are primarily interested in learning about engagement because they’re looking for a quick fix. But when it comes to effectively engaging employees – by means of a workplace that fosters open communications, trust, respect, and leadership – there is no instant remedy. As they’ll learn when the economy improves and their employee turnover rate soars.
Ever the optimist, however, I figure better late than never … maybe this time they’ll learn.