Oversimplification Can Be Dangerous
I Can’t Believe They Tried This!
Reading an article in the Huffington Post recently, the author tried to simplify the definition of a popular buzzphrase used in the corporate world. The term was “Employee Engagement”. They said simply that it was the new way of saying “Internal Communications”.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Making it simple is not always helpful. In this case, it could be fatal!
The article was titled The Growing Importance of Managers in Employee Engagement by Gail S. Thornton. Now Gail is a communications professional, so I can understand her tendency to classify it as a communications issue.
Employee Engagement – More Than Communication
And to be sure, excellent communication is a critical part of fostering employee engagement. But it’s not the only thing. To focus just on that component of employee engagement is similar to just relying on your belt buckle to hold your pants up; without the belt it’s not going to be very effective at accomplishing the mission.
Communication is the promise ring of employee engagement, but caring is the diamond. Leaders must communicate, but the communication rings hollow if they don’t truly care for people on their team. I know lots of great communicators who don’t really care for the people in their organization; communication is just a tool for manipulation.
[snaptweet]Communication is the promise ring of employee engagement, but caring is the diamond. -Paul Simkins[/snaptweet]
When a leader cares and communicates with care, real meaning is brought to the communication. The communication involves listening a lot more than talking. It involves open pipelines where people are free to speak up and speak out. When that happens, people feel they count and are counted on. That’s when engagement is possible.
There are other factors as well; such as knowing when to empower and when not to, refusing to be a rescue boss, providing guidance, making expectations clear, and creating a safe place to fail.
[snaptweet]Saying that employee engagement is simple is to assume your employees are simple. They’re not. And neither are you by the way. -Paul Simkins[/snaptweet]
Communication is an important factor of employee engagement, but don’t go thinking that it IS employee engagement.