Engagement……..what a word!
Sounds appealing, isn’t it? It associates our thoughts with concepts such as engaging, interacting, relations, and any social-oriented ideas. Interestingly, for those who may not know, engagement is also associated with initiation of a battle. It is also popularly related with a pre-marriage state of relationship.
So, what is the meaning of this word, actually?
In a recently national conference I attended, the opening panel session was about employee engagement. The idea the speakers shared was about how to make employees really engage with the business process in active way, instead of being operators based on instruction. This can be achieved through well-crafted human capital management process. Obviously, this is not only about recruitment, placement, and employee trainings. It’s way beyond that. The idea of employee engagement is about building people as the fittest talents for the organization, not just working people.
Now let’s skip the theoretical part. Let’s get grounded with this question: How this sweet idea is actually implemented?
Honestly, this is a very obscure proposition to elaborate. How does it look like to be engaged? I can’t answer that for you, well, not as precise as I think it should be. I know how it feels to engage and to be engaged. I feel the connection, not just in cognitive way, such as understanding. I believe engagement is about sensing the connection, sharing the same values, involving with people whom we connect with, and interact with them along the way.
That’s my take of engagement. Yours may have been different, and I think that’s all about this idea. Everyone has his or her own definition, because one experienced engagement differently to others.
What about employee engagement? Theoretically speaking, this is a new idea carrying old substance. We have affective commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and other frames used to explore one psychological situation: How people passionately invest themselves in their work, their organization and the people they work with.
We’ve seen examples of people who ultimately engage with their work from time to time. From a very committed and devoted janitor we met, to a very passionate and heroic historical figure like Gandhi. We’ve seen them in history, and we also learned how this situation is, in fact, rare.
So, is it true that employees can really engage that well? Don’t they work for the sake of their own welfare? Don’t we? Supposedly we are very passionate with our work, would that also means we are passionate with the organization or company we work at? I don’t think so. Loving the type of the job is not the same with loving the company. You might love to be a software engineer, but it doesn’t mean you love the company you are working in.
We may love our work for ourselves. We may engage with our work, and just that. Nothing more. Do we bother to engage more than our working sphere? Honestly, I doubt it.
The world we live in today is swamped by communication networks. We live in a time where internet connects us, phones connect us, PCs connect us, and many other ways. Five decades ago, we don’t always be able to get the information we were seeking for. Now, we might get information we don’t want to know. Take a look at the internet. Some of us may think we are facing too much news, too many social media, too many gossips and too many types of information. Why?
Because we live in a world with intense and widespread connections. Our problem today is not lacking of connections, but overwhelming connections.
But, with all those connections, do we really engage? Supposedly we do, how often we really engage? Perhaps, we have too much to connect with, therefore we are too numb to really engage.
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