The holy grail of employee engagement

If you have ever been to a workplace where people are in their “flow” and look as though they are doing exactly what they were born to do; then you’re probably witnessing a workforce of engaged employees.

There are so many studies on the financial and other benefits that an engaged workforce can bring, that it is no wonder that organisations pore a lot of time and money into finding the holy grail .. the components of an engaged workforce.

There are so many models of employee engagement, it can feel very much like a moving feast –you just get to grips with one model and then another appears. Then there are the surveys – the Gallup approach with the “do you have a best friend at work” question; those that focus on job satisfaction and motivation rather than engagement; and those that measure discretionary effort vs commitment. It can all be very confusing, and off-putting, not just to the HR departments, but more importantly to the wider organization.

Today I happened upon another approach that illustrates the components of engagement and its various characteristics.  On first reading, it looked complicated, but on further reading, it would have to be one of the better models of engagement I have seen.

You can read the full article by Cris Wildermuth; but in summary she suggests the following

“..There are 10 Ms of engagement to help create engagement- friendly organizations. Nine of these components operate in three separate but deeply connected dimensions: organization culture, the job, and the person. The final factor—the match—connects the dots between culture, job, and personal issues…” 

Culture, job (including manager) and the person – you would pretty much expect those to be included in most models, but it is the final element that brings it all together:

“.. Match recognizes that people are passionate about different jobs. People’s personality and talents matter. For instance, not everyone needs the same amount of social interaction .. or recognition …”

By definition, the match is a key requirement for engagement because passion is a major component of engagement—and passion cannot be taught. Passion is the result of doing what one was born to do. Enter the role of human personalities..”

It’s the match element that I believe is missing from many other models. Put simply, is the person in the right job for them?  You know when you’ve seen someone in the right job for them. You’ve probably even commented on it.  Equally, you’ve probably seen a person who is so not in the right role.   Interestingly, the other nine other elements of this model could be in place, and the employee still not be fully engaged.

In today’s climate, employers are often struggling to just fill the jobs and employees are often grateful for a job, any job. So this talk of match and passion could be viewed as a luxury.

Yet I believe if “match” was properly measured at recruitment stage, and nurtured throughout the life cycle of the employee, the benefits to ongoing engagement would be immense.

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Tammy Tansley
I am a coffee loving, energetic human who loves words, bright colours and spots, silly t'shirts and good champagne. Mum to two beautiful mischiefs. Long time wanderer around the world. Author. Blogger. Speaker.
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