Employee engagement: the song is changing, have you noticed?

Day after day, we sing the same song…over and over again. Then, one day the song changes yet people continue to sing the same outdated song over and over again.

Is this the case with Employee Engagement? Will it be the case in our near future?

We offer programs and activities and action plans and recognition events to enhance employee engagement, understanding that our problem is a lack of engagement.

What if that’s the old problem, not the current problem, and certainly not the future problem?

What if with our passionate, energetic, younger employees (millennials and younger), we are experiencing the opposite problem? At first, I called this problem “over-engagement” and then I laughed at my label. If we consider people who are forward-thinkers, community builders, doers, innovators, technologists (in every aspect of their lives), and purpose-driven with passion for creating a new and better world “overly engaged,” we’ve got a society that holds back the greatness of people – that is established to actually limit engagement and not promote it.

When I consider what the millennial and younger generations bring to the world of work, I call that engagement. I call that passion. I call that community building, and I call that hope.

Our focus for these folks should not be how to engage them in the workplace, but rather how to guide, support, coordinate, and lead their energy, passion, and talents to do really great things together.

That means taking a good look at employee and workplace policies that will limit the creativity and energy these folks bring to the table. The world is their office…any time.

That means taking a good look at the role of leadership in organizations. What behaviors will leaders expect, reinforce, and foster within and amongst their team members.

That means taking a good look at hierarchy and organizational alignment. Are the benefits of this organizational infrastructure still realized or are they outdated and limiting to new ideas, creative thinking, and teamwork?

That means taking a good look at culture. Inevitably, these new employees will change your organization’s culture. Are you prepared to manage these changes or are you willing to allow them to manage themselves?

For years, we have been singing the tune about disengaged employees. When the song changes, will you notice? Will you be ready?

What have you done to really, truly create an environment where employees feel valued, are confident in their skills and talents and how they contribute to teamwork, and have the autonomy to make responsible decisions to manage their work and their life? Leave your tips in the comments below.

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