Questioning Employee Engagement–Some Things to Think About

Building on my “four forms of employee engagement” model, I’ve published another piece that again challenges the conventional wisdom about employee engagement, while providing some practical questions for practitioners to consider before considering engagement efforts in the current climate.

This piece, ‘Questioning ‘Engagement–Things to Think About’, has been published on the Employee Engagement Network and can be found at:

http://bit.ly/6lMlVT

“Four Forms” of Engagement Model Published by Leading Employee Engagement Personality

My innovative “Four Forms” model of Employee Engagement, which identified four distinct types of employee-employer relationship:

  • The engagement of the “rifle”—battle: active opposition
  • The engagement of the “mat”—wrestling: active disagreement, but within a productive context
  • The engagement of the “gearshift”-mechanical: productivity without resistance
  • The engagement of the “ring”-mutual, heartfelt, emotional commitment
  • was recognized recently by one of the engagement movement’s leading practitioners, David Zinger.

    Zinger has posted a full article on the four forms on his own blog last month, and led off the piece with the following exchange between us:

    “Mike Klein is an original think around employee engagement. He joined the Employee Engagement Network recently and I asked him about his nonlinear view of employee engagement and employee engagement seen as a moral virtue. He wrote a comment on my network page that really got me thinking:

    Engagement is non-linear: The short answer regarding my non-linear view of engagement: I think the idea that the path between employee hostility and helpfulness as a straight line called “engagement” is total rubbish.

    Rather, I see “engagement” as a willingness to connect through some sort of relationship, which can either be hostile or helpful, passive or active, possessive or bereft of long-term commitment, and solitary or collective.

    As for my background–while I have more than 10 years of internal communication experience, mainly in Europe, I managed political campaigns in the US for 10 years as well, where I saw other patterns and models of engagement emerge around candidates and issues. That background gives me some perspective around the whole “engagement as moral virtue” piece–for it is impossible for anyone actively in a relationship to be disengaged, whether they are hostile, helpful or hopeless.

    Ultimately, I think this issue has been horribly mispositioned in the communications and management press, and that professionals need access to new models and vocabularies that don’t treat engagement solely as an employee issue, and solely as a matter of right and wrong.

    This whetted my appetite to learn more from Mike about employee engagement or engagement and I received his approval to reprint the blog post below. I have made a few slight changes to make it easier to follow but the post is directly from Mike.  This is not a short blog read but I believe your will gain much if you focus on the engaging metaphors that Mike presents.”

    The full posting can be found at:

    http://www.davidzinger.com/employee-engagement-rifle-mat-gearshift-ring-mike-klein-5614/

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