It is no secret that employee engagement has become a vapor for most companies. The percentage of “engaged” employees has remained stable (and low) for well over 10 years. I’ve even suggested that maybe our 30%-ish engagement statistics represent the upper limit on engagement and trying to increase it above 30% is like trying to add a booster to the speed of light.

Or maybe engagement is more like Audry II from Little Shop of Horrors – always hungry – never sated – promising all your performance dreams will come true if you just install this system, recognize more, do pulse surveys. I know many companies who can attest they have thrown all kinds of time, talent and treasure at engagement with little change to show for it. They continue to shovel resources into the problem and the problem still screams FEED ME!


Definition of Insanity   

Lather, Rinse, Repeat  

Groundhog Day

How many ways can I say we keep doing the same thing over and over with no real impact. I’ve been writing a blog on engagement for 10 years now and I can look at my posts in 2007 and they are duplicated today by the new crop of bloggers. There are no new ideas. And no new results.

I believe – and I’ve said it more times than I care to share – engagement is a human function and therefore requires human intervention. It is not a technology. It is not a survey. It is not an award.

It is a human being connecting with another human being around what is important to them.

And that, gentle reader, is the real and only function of management.

If your managers think they exist to plan, organize, staff, direct and control… get used to 30% engagement ratings. Forever.


If you want engagement your managers must engage.


 Engagement is…

Engagement is personal, vulnerable, helping, caring, supportive, consistent, focused, involved.

Engagement requires emotion not electrons.

If you want greater engagement from your employees require greater engagement from your managers do not let them rely on the newest technology.

Make them rely on the oldest – a conversation.