Chris J Powell

Engagement in the Workplace – The Key to Happiness or Just Another Buzz Word

I have had alot of jobs over the 26 years that I have worked full time (yes I have had a Full Time Job since I was 13 years old) and many of those jobs I absolutely hated showing up to.  Now this whole concept of Engaged vs. Disengaged is really nothing new but during the booms of the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s there really was not any reason for an employer to care about an employee as the money would just keep rolling in and there was generally a line up of people who could replace you at a moments notice but in the past 5 years I have noticed a radical shift in an employer’s profile that they seem to genuinely care about my individual happiness and whether or not I actually want to show up to work.

Now the challenge for empolyers is that when you look at the people who really do ensure the success of a business, each one is an individual with unique needs, wants and quirks.  I really think that this might be one of the reasons that I struggle with People in general and have a much stronger affiliation with the Technology.  In 2012 the term Employee Engagement is being thrown about quite often and the measurement of how “connected” to the goals of the company an employee is can vary wildly from the world of 12 question “Satisfaction Surveys” to indepth focused and targetted content delivery systems that focus on the Consulting Hours at the back end of a project.


The real challenge is finding middle ground that really does give a deaper and unique view of what is going on in the company, letting it be split into department sized pieces and then have a customized Success Action Plan developed for Managers to really dive into re-engaging those who have become seperated from the herd.  Now is it HR’s responsibility to act as a shepard for the men and women who have strayed or does that onus fall firmly on the shoulders of the Managers and Directors who have either come through the ranks based not neccessarily on their ability but on their relationship with someone higher up the food chain?


I consider myself very lucky to work for the company that I do.  Not only do we produce World Class IT Research that I can sink my teeth into and really help my clients both locate the right information the first time (and because of the way that I present the information to my clients I was recently told that I can regularily return relevant information faster than Google) but recently we created a Sister Company that focuses on Resource Management for the entire organization.  The content and options available are both competitively priced but also provide the depth and level set support that really does ensure a deeper connection and better planning for any organization.

Now the Resource Management Arm of our company is a little different from the Information Technology Arm in that it really is all about Engagement from the first stage.  While the access to custom policies core research and support of a great team of people is important…there is nothing like the Employee Engagement Services that we provide.  I can speak directly to this as we were one of the guinea pigs during the development of the Program last year and I can honestly say that the interaction and focused attentioin that has been paid to the short comings that were identified during the process was quite impressive.


But really, what does a solidly Engaged Employee mean for a company?  Well when Retention is a challenge for many companys then look to engagement as a way of not only grabbing the best talent available but also develop and retain the best and brightest that you already have on your payroll.  I located a good measuring stick for you to very quickly look to whether you need to refocus on the  of identifying an engaged employee:

SAY :Employees speaking positively about the organization (break room, parking lot or worse in the Social Media world) then watch out for a dip.

STAY :Employees’ intense need to be part of the organization (does staff embrace change or do they fight it at every opportunity)

STRIVE :Employees exert extra effort and exhibit behaviors that contribute to business success (while 110% effort is expected these days…are they really putting everything they have for the company on the table?)


It has taken me some time to embrace the change and allow my focus to be split ever so slightly to encompass and emprace the change and include HR materials into my repository of insights and information that I work with but I am finding more and more even with IT Professionals that this is a real challenge and more than ever is a key differentiator between what has been available in the past and what we are putting out there.  I can honestly say that since taking on the role that I have today…I have not been able to find the insights and information out there that can both identify potential choke points to growth but also give you access to the right steps to turn things around…and fast!


Well It is good to be back on the saddle, I appologize for missing my post yesterday but I was in the Hospital overnight with some strange pains in my abdomen and well I still don’t know what is causing them but I am right as rain once again.


Cheers and have a Great Day.


Chris J Powell

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