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Truth of Employee Engagement

For creating an engaging experience many interventions and activities are being executed towards this paradigm shift in people management. However, an intriguing question is, how far have the intent and attitude towards people or their wholeness shifting alongside these initiatives?

For example, the engagement expectation for activist community is that the volunteers are willing to face the bullet if necessary. Or take instance a religious community, the engagement expectation is that all members diligently practice and vehemently propagate the doctrines. Or looking at a company/business, the engagement expectation is that the employees work smarter, go the extra hour, be more innovative and produce more towards company success.

I feel, in a general sense, the engagement expectation is reasonable and fair in all three examples. But how to align all the people in the community or organisation is an interesting puzzle to solve.

Infinite Potential

The fundamental fact that human beings are designed with immense capacity for development, growth and change because of the evolving and adaptive cognitive and emotional brain is key. It is the conjunction of our rational and emotional mind that give the ability to conceptualize or dream of something, because we feel passion, purpose and the need for self-actualization.

And it is these desires that translates into tangible real world things by using our highly powerful logical mind. This is the reason, we as a human race survived the test of time, to remain great creatures in the ecosystem of the earth. And with great power comes great responsibility, meaning we are responsible to take care of our ecosystem. (this is a topic for another time)

This fact of life is crucial to understand the nuts and bolts of engagement. The majesty of a tiger is truly displayed in its natural habitat, likewise, human beings have greatness, and putting them in a thinking, acting or feeling box constrains their natural greatness. By allowing the person to grow to their true potential, both the individual and the organisation can derive great value from each other.

A number on a spreadsheet

Recently a friend shared with me a morbid incident of how his boss in meetings address people by numbers of position to be filled. It is understandable that ‘numbers’ communicate targets more clearly, but in this case, it sounded as the boss doesn’t care about the human, but only the resources. Yes, human resources, a contentious nomenclature that began its journey post industrial revolution.

Psychological Contract

The second fact, we are familiar with the concept of employee - employer psychological contract, which is also true in other forms of relationship, and the critical role it plays in having a positive, constructive and engaged culture in an organisation. I feel it originates from the heart, where our intentions towards something or someone is stored.

The heart of the matter of engagement is the heart

The heart of the matter of engagement is the heart. What I mean by that is, what is your intent, attitude, or feeling towards people in general, and in particular your team. How do you value them or are they just a number, a resource that has to be optimized?

In my journey to my calling as a celebrating life coach, I have done various roles in HR. As a HR strategist I have had the privilege of associating with organisation that had high percentage of engaged employees. I was focused on the task of optimizing the HR ecosystem, that I nose-dived into the surveys, charts, plans, projection, budget, etc. but soon I realized there was a force at play that doesn’t fit the HR rule book, cause even with so many adversities the organisation faced, the overall morale was high and attrition was low, which was puzzling. The force at play was the' love for the people', this happenstance redrafted my perspective about employee engagement and it validated my beliefs about Human resources management.

Among the many tools for employee engagement, coaching is a powerful tool as it brings to the awareness of the individual their own truth, and by confronting their own truth they become open to the truth of the organisation. And when the organisation or community looks at the employee / individual through the lens of the heart, the psychological contract becomes inked in the truth.

Three areas of Truth

There are three areas of truth that as to work in tandem to yield the best engagement results , that is;

  • How true are you with yourself

  • How true are you with another

  • How true are you with others

Action Idea

A simple self-assessment to quantify the heart matter is to answer a simply question, on a scale of 1 to 10 , 1 being conditionally and 10 being unconditionally, how conditionally or unconditionally do you love your people in the organisation, team, community.

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