“Our current practices and approaches to employee engagement are failing. They are failing to achieve organizational results and most employees fail to experience the benefits of their own engagement.” Excerpt from David Zinger’s 21-Point Employee Engagement Manifesto.
A disheartening statement, but not surprising as employee engagement gets more intention than action. In my workshops, I frequently hear managers lament about being told to initiate engagement and/or recognition programs with insufficient commitment and resources needed to support their efforts. Then when these programs don’t work, the well-meaning but clueless-in-charge look for other quick-fix workplace remedies.
Frustrated by wasting precious resources on “flavor-of-the-month” engagement initiatives, employee cynicism continues and top management’s credibility gap widens. If this describes your workplace, here are several tips to help you preserve whatever sanity you have left.
Help for hanging in there
- Keep in mind that across your life’s spectrum this situation is only temporary.
- Another important perspective is your workplace isn’t all that unique – the world is filled with Dilbert-like organizations. While “misery loves company,” refrain from wallowing in a victim mentality.
- Until you can change jobs, or if you’re unable to make the switch, look for whatever positive, fulfilling aspects of your workplace you can find such as making a difference through the work you do, helping customers, enjoying some of the people you work with, and yes, even getting a steady paycheck.
- Find healthy ways to de-stress and maintain your mental and physical health – it’s the most precious resource you have.
- Consider the opportunity you have to learn what works and what doesn’t work in dealing with people in the workplace. You can apply “lessons learned” in your next job and any community activities you may be involved in as a volunteer. (Note: the practice of engaging employees is similar to that of engaging volunteers.)
It’s important to remember that engagement is a two-way proposition between employers and employees. While the management team is responsible for creating an engaging workplace, employees are responsible for showing up each day ready and willing to engage in their work. The absence of the former may mitigate–but doesn’t preclude–the latter.