STOP trying to engage your team! - Vet Dynamics

STOP trying to engage your team!

STOP trying to engage your team!

‘Employee engagement’ is a big ‘buzz word’ at the moment but many people misunderstand what it actually is or how it is attained.

Let’s get one thing straight, employee engagement isn’t a ‘thing’. It doesn’t exist in the real world; it is a concept, an idea that someone created.

One definition, and there are many, is ‘Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organisation, and put discretionary effort into their work’.

One problem is that business leaders talk as if employee engagement is a thing to ‘get’ – “We need more employee engagement”. The way to do this (so we are told) is to raise our employee engagement score.

The real issue is leaders are chasing employee engagement like some people chase happiness. Happiness (like employee engagement, is the result of) other actions, patterns and thoughts. Just like you can’t make yourself be happy, neither can leaders make employees be engaged.

It would be like going up to one of your team and saying “Ok, now, be engaged! I want you to really work on raising your sense of engagement with the practice”. Daft, but you see leaders doing just this sort of thing!

Employee engagement is a result that occurs from having healthy practices in place, including your team in decisions that affect them, communicating clearly, knowing how their actions help the practice reach its goals and from team members feeling valued for what they contribute.

Employee engagement isn’t the goal. It is an indicator of a practice’s health that brings about other good things (increased productivity, removal of non-value add, opportunity to add value, improve the client journey and reduce staff turnover). Just like having blood pressure in the healthy zone (110/70) isn’t the ultimate goal – being healthy and living a long life is the goal, which in turn is more likely to happen when your blood pressure is good!

So the practical application is to focus on developing healthy habits and patterns of work in your practice and the good results will follow (using ‘employment engagement’ as a gauge of health).

By Debbie Robinson

2 Comments
  • Al Jaques
    Posted at 13:36h, 27 August Reply

    .DON’T stop trying to engage your team.

    Engagement like happiness is a ‘thing’. If I want to be happy I would look to the drivers of my happiness and undertake these activities – perhaps a birdwatching expedition to the Atlantic coast of France or a trip to the red light district of Amsterdam. There is a wealth of business ‘research’ indicating higher levels of employee engagement lead to better business outcomes and since the drivers of engagement have, apparently, been identified (according to IES the key driver is ‘feeling valued and involved’) as an employer it seems entirely logical that the identified drivers are considered and woven into daily management practices.

    Al Jaques (Practicing vet and not a business expert)

  • Madison
    Posted at 14:34h, 15 September Reply

    Great blog, right to the point! It is so true that organisations often throw around words like happines and employee engagement like you can just create it, but really it comes from sustained dedication to a set of values and practices that in their process create engagement, but it is the side effect, not the end product. When you act from genuine, heartfelt sentiments about making your work and workplace better, engagement comes naturally.

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