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Researcher: Old Employee Engagement Models Grossly Ineffective

“It’s time to rethink the ‘employee engagement’ issue,” opened a recent piece by Forbes magazine on the evolution of employee evaluation and engagement.

The days of the annual engagement survey are slowly coming to an end,” the article continued, “to be replaced by a much more holistic, integrated, and real-time approach to measuring and driving high levels of employee commitment and passion.”

The author and Deloitte researcher add that “engaging people well” is fast becoming a leading competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.

Below are common reasons for employee disengagement and turnover that traditional evaluation/engagement methods have failed to improve:

  • Leadership hasn’t re-engaged people during transition periods in the organization.
  • Workload is too high and the performance management process is flawed.
  • Lack of investment in development and talent mobility, making it difficult for high performers to advance.
  • Non-inclusive culture (perhaps as a result of history) cannot attract or retain today’s more diverse workforce.
  • Old fashioned working conditions make work difficult.

Part of the problem is an antiquated perspective of what “engaged” means. “We aren’t just looking to get people engaged,” writes the author, “we want them to be married. That is, fully committed.” This requires a new way of managing people beyond the typical annual surveys.

Employees aren’t hired hands we want to engage in the old sense, writes the author: “We can’t retain people, we can only attract them. We can’t engage them but we can inspire and support them. We can’t train them but we can enable them to learn and give them opportunities to develop.”

You can read the full piece and related research at Forbes.

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