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There’s No “I” in Engagement … or is There?

I’m not talking about “I” as in “individual” – people are responsible for their own engagement. I’m talking about “I” as in “inertia.” You can’t have an engaged workplace in the presence of management inertia.

Engagement is a two-way proposition that involves both the employee and the organization’s management. However, people can show up at work fully engaged and yet their initial enthusiasm and energy are chipped away over time for a variety of reasons. In other words, once engaged doesn’t mean always engaged. [While personal issues at home can also negatively impact employee engagement, my focus here is on organizational rather than personal factors.]

Management’s role is to foster a climate of engagement in which people know that their work and the results of their efforts matter. This includes managers’ own engagement – if they’re not committed to the organization, how can they expect their employees to be committed to it? Or to the managers themselves?

Clearly, engagement cannot co-exist with inertia. But when management practices “intentional” engagement, it’s an entirely different situation.