Throw Away The Employee Engagement Strategic Plan…

Kris Dunn Engagement and Satisfaction, Kris Dunn

Editor's Note: KD's at the Aberdeen Human Capital Management Summitin Manhattan this week, where he's getting his professional development game on, as well as speaking and participating in a panel.  Check out the hashtag for the conference at #hcm2010nyc…

Friends… Romans… Countrymen… Lend me your ears.Ari-Gold-Hug-it-out2

I come to speak of a matter of most importance to all of us.  It's been known to make some eyes glaze over though, so you might want to grab a Starbucks before I continue.

No, it's not heathcare.  No, it's not a retirement calculator. 

Focus for a second will you?  I'm here to talk about employee engagement.

Wait!!  Don't throw hard objects at my face!  The body? Sure.  But not the face… How would I earn a living if it was damaged?

Employee Engagement – I'll say it again now that you've calmed down.  I'm at Aberdeen this week, and just heard Steve Church (Chief Operational Excellence Officer at Avnet) speak, and he said something profound, but it was a throwaway comment that you had to be listening for.  Here's the money quote of the day:

"If you help employees fix broken process, you'll gain employee engagement".

You should think about that one for a second.  It's easy and hard at the same time.

Employees are more stretched than they've ever been.  They also know what makes sense operationally, what's plain stupid, and they also know how to fix it.   They're telling you this on tools like employee surveys.

Meanwhile, we're reading the latest trendy piece of fluff on engagement.  You don't need it. 

What you need is simple, but hard.

You need to have the ability to stick your nose into other departments and help employees fix processes that don't work.  It sounds easy, but most organizations are full of territory battles about who owns what.  And HR clearly doesn't own operational process in most companies.  Stick your nose into an operational process, and most department heads will respond with a full roundhouse right.

Yet it's there, courtesy of Steve Church of Avnet via the Aberdeen Conference.  If you help employees fix broken process, you'll gain employee engagement. 

You don't need posters or consultants.  You need data/dialog on what's broken from the employee's point of view, then you need to put on your operational hat and facilitate.

Are you ready for that?  If not, you're probably not ready for a real engagement initiative.  If so, how do you get buy-in that it's necessary for you to have your nose in the business?

Good luck with the posters and consultants.  I hope your engagement initiative goes really well. 

Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.