“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
— Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the words we use for important ideas about work ‘diffuse’ over time, and all the problems this creates. Like a game of telephone, as an idea spreads its initial meaning gets refracted through each receiver, who stamps it with her own experience before passing it on. What starts out as a clear concept gets muddier and muddier over time.
A weekly post in which I share thoughts provoked by (some of) the great content I read this week(ish).
Let’s face it: HR has engagement-fever. If you and your organizations haven’t been infected yet, it’s only a matter of time (or maybe a matter of one more headline trumpeting yet another study correlating ‘engagement’ with organizational performance and even profit margins). Combine this incessant stream of engagement coverage with the current abysmal employee engagement numbers (such as those presented by the recent Ipsos Reid study I discussed in my last post), and you have a recipe for organizational hysteria.
But let’s put aside (for a minute), the need for a much clearer definition of what everybody means (and does not mean) by “employee engagement”, and the need for an increased understanding of the relationship between engagement and the other organizational data it has been correlated with. Put that aside, and jump on the bandwagon with me for a short ride to consider engagement, transparency, and the human brain…
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a Canadian Management Center National Thought Leader Series presentation, delivered in conjunction with Ipsos Reid, on some of the results of a recent study conducted by Ipsos into Canadian employee engagement. The data contained some real surprises for me, including how my fellow Gen Xers are apparently falling off our collective “organizational engagement radar”, and the rather frightening numbers associated with Canadians’ views about the trustworthiness and credibility of their senior leaders.