A few short weeks from now many of us will be sitting down with friends, the family we like (and may even love), engaging with new and old acquaintances, laughing, chatting, reveling, playing games and connecting on a truly human level.
The rest of us will have Thanksgiving dinner at our own, or a relative’s house, arguing about politics, misremembering family facts and history, and being forced to eat some version of a green bean casserole (RIP Dorcas Reilly).
Ah…the wonder of it all.
Thanksgiving as a holiday is pretty much ingrained in what it means to be American.
Our founding father, George Washington, issued a proclamation for it in 1789 and it became an official national holiday in 1863. The “first” Thanksgiving is assumed to have happened in 1621 and attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. It is a 400-year-old tradition and there aren’t many things in America that are 400 years old (other than Aerosmith).
So, it’s worth taking the time to pay some homage to it.
While I normally rail against poor practices associated with engaging employees, I thought I’d change my spots, so to speak, and talk about what am I thankful for in 2018 related to HR, talent, and engagement.
Paul’s Top 10 Thankful List
- I’m thankful we’re still talking about the causes of employee disengagement and the lack of employee engagement. I cannot think of anything more perennial than that. An entire industry of experts cannot solve it. An entire job category (ahem – managers) can’t impact it. No matter how many pulse surveys you do or what flavors of free LaCroix you put in the fridge, engagement will always be about 35%.PROTIP: If you are a college business major, study employee engagement. It’s like my dad used to tell me… “learn how to be a short order cook and you can always find work.” Same with employee engagement – anyone can do it and there will never be a lack of opportunities.
- I’m thankful for technologies that continue to create millionaires even though I can’t see how the various flavors of recognition or engagement platforms are different. With all the money thrown at tech solutions for engagement and recognition over the past few years, I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone thinks they have something that radically disruptive (can you say “greater fool” theory?). But I’m not so thankful that I’m not one of those millionaires.
- I’m thankful for social media. How else would I be able to be contributing here? How else would I hear about all the various ways I can drive company performance backed up by at least one or two data points. I mean – who knew that improv was the missing engagement ingredient?
- I’m thankful for the internet so I can actually find a web page that highlights something I just made up (improv driving engagement). How can you not be thankful for that?
- I am thankful that the vast majority of HR professionals care enough about their employees to pour so much time and treasure into trying to engage them and make their lives better. Even though most of the time we won’t do the real work (educating managers, promoting the right people, increasing diversity and autonomy, being more human and worrying about effectiveness, not efficiency). Hey, remember, the thought counts!
Remember that around December 25th mkay?
- I’m thankful for slack-type technologies. How else could we solve the problem of too much email by increasing the number of electronic threads I have to check to communicate with other people (my current communication stack includes: email, slack, Freedcamp, instant messaging, and SharePoint…I’m sure others of you have even more!). But I’m more efficient, right!?
- I’m thankful for remote working and virtual teams. I haven’t had to do a forced teambuilding event or a trust fall in 5 years. Always an upside, right?
- I’m thankful for low unemployment. It allows recruiters to pull out those “war for talent” posts from a few years back, dust off the bad metaphors, and repost concepts as “new” enlightened knowledge.
- I am thankful we have an open, caring, understanding and accommodating workplace where we can discuss politics, gender issues, and diversity. Hahahahahahahah…. So sorry – just couldn’t resist. Can we make this my Christmas wish?
- I am thankful I can continue to do the work I love and see the results from that effort. Many don’t get to do that, but I can, and it makes a huge difference in one’s life!
- And finally, I am so thankful I’ve been able to write for Fistful of Talent since 2007 – it just may be the longest I’ve ever done anything other than staying married (32 years there)! The FOT group is great and they only edit about 80% of what I write so that’s a bonus. I’m thankful, dear readers for your attention, and the fact that you haven’t crowd-sourced a petition to push me out. I am thankful I can continue to hide in plain sight amongst all the other actual HR pros (and much better writers) here at FOT.
For those that celebrate the holiday – I hope you have a safe, very happy, and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I wish you all the best.
Paul Hebert is Senior Account Executive at WorkStride, Inc, and a writer, speaker and consultant. Paul focuses on helping connect best-in-class incentive technology platform to behaviors you need drive business results through employees, channel partners and consumers.
Using proven motivational theory, behavioral economics and social psychology he has driven extraordinary company performance for his clients. Paul is widely considered an expert on motivation, incentives, and engagement.
Other notable activities:
- Interviewed by the BBC on executive motivation and pay
- Quoted three times in USATODAY as an expert in incentives and channel travel programs
- Published in Loyalty360 magazine
- Writer and founding member of the editorial advisory board at the HRExaminer website
- Contributing author of “Enterprise Engagement: The Textbook: A Roadmap to Achieving Organizational Results Through People”
- Contributing author of 3 books on social media “The Age of Conversation #1, #2, and #3”