Employee Engagement: A Simpler Approach

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I’m like every HR nerd in America. I think about employee engagement a lot.

Recently, I surprised myself a bit by citing Gallup’s research on employee engagement off the cuff in an impromptu presentation at work. Here’s the info I referenced:

Employee Engagement in U.S. Stagnant in 2015

“The percentage of U.S. workers in 2015 who Gallup considered engaged in their jobs averaged 32%. The majority (50.8%) of employees were “not engaged,” while another 17.2% were “actively disengaged.” Read the rest here.

When I finished and sat down, it occurred to me that my ability to spout out that information upon command is the result of perhaps years and years of thinking about why employee engagement is so low and what organizations can do about it.

It occurred to me that the world of work is often made incredibly complex. Sometimes this leads us to purchase all kinds of leadership models, approaches, systems, and other devices to gives us an edge in the employee engagement game. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” – Albert Einstein

Employee engagement might just come down to the difference between who a person is, and who they are asked to be at work. The closer they can get to being themselves, their whole self, with strengths, weaknesses, and quirks, the more engaged that employee will be.

The more they are required to wear an uncomfortable persona, the less engaged they will be. The more they are required to leave who they are behind, the less productive they will be.

You get the idea.

This isn’t breaking news or anything. People have been saying things to this effect for many years. It’s just that sometimes, it’s good to reduce things that have become so complex down to its most essential elements.

People just want the opportunity to work without having to fundamentally change who they are.

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