The word Engagement has entered the national lexicon like no other. Engagement of what, is the question.
Ask your friends what does business-related engagement mean to them and you will quickly come to understand that there as many definitions as people.
What is employee engagement?
Some say it is: a combination of commitment to the organisation; one’s willingness to help out colleagues (organisational citizenship); and a coming together of the corporate values that both capital and the human resource has to offer. It has even been suggested that engagement is what the employee offers and which cannot be ‘required’ as part of the employee contract. This reads like, the more one gives, the more is expected!
Engagement has many members in its family, as well as many contexts, such as, owners (shareholders), directors, executives, clients, the human resources of the corporation, and the constituency one represents. Thus, we get employee engagement, community engagement, brand engagement and so on.
In the business world, everyone in the supply-demand chain relationship is engaged (one way or another) in achieving the prescribed strategic outcomes of the organisation measured against community expectations.
How does engagement differ from the ‘industrial democracy’ movement of forty-years past?
Maybe it does not differ much at all. In the public sector, such as the local council domain, engagement has a strong orientation toward empowering the democratic decision-making process.
But does the community feel more engaged as a consequence?
Our research tells us – no they don’t! In fact, satisfaction with the engagement process in this public domain has been on the decline for years. Thus, engagement programs often to not achieve their intended outcomes!
How do you want to become more engaged?
Social media has been described by many as the panacea to enhancing engagement – a more efficient conduit for creating a meaningful dialogue.
Is engagement for you a dialogue or simply getting your message accepted by higher management?
As one corporation recently stated about social media: “it gives greater capacity to access, monitor, connect and influence our customers’ conversations with us – and about us!”
So, is social media the great manipulator, or the greatly manipulated, in the engagement process? What do you think?
As we know from our own personal relationship, when under stress it is easy to slip into talking to, rather than talking with, one’s partner. Cleary, corporations make the same mistake. Some seem to hold the belief that the stronger they press their message talking to their client community, the more that community will listen. Nothing could be further from the truth. It can only initiate the ‘divorce’ process!
As in life, the client community expect an engagement where both entities are recognised and respected as having something to offer each other in the commercial dialogue – a win-win outcome for both. Not easy to achieve, but most certainly worth trying, as those corporations that succeed will be the icons of the future – the rest, the dinosaurs of the not too distant past.