Whole-Person or Crossover Engagement, whatever you want to call it… a whole lot more opinions, questions and assumptions follow than data-driven answers. But I have a hunch that if the answers are out there, they may be vastly more important than getting a grip on “employee engagement”. Or, am I really on the fringe this time?
The engagement community’s focus is pretty much on “employee” engagement exclusively, maybe because that’s where the money is? I mentioned this to a colleague, and he validated that thought: “what other kind of engagement is there?” I rest my case.
There’s a good first question to get started: what other kinds of engagement that matters are there, besides “employee engagement”? Example: Gallup has done a good deal of research on student engagement. http://www.gallupstudentpoll.com/home.aspx Others?
Is there such a thing as “community engagement” of citizens individually and collectively? What drives it? What does a person who is highly engaged in their community do differently? What are the impacts and manifestations of community disengagement and what are the disengagers?
Bigger questions…what is the potential impact of engagement-nurturing workplace practices on the “Greater Good”? What is the nature of the interdependence among the individual, organizations and society? Can an organization’s work with employee engagement and values-based leadership in the workplace have any kind of significant ripple effect on social well-being, both individually and as a whole?
Has there been any research conducted on the connection between workplace engagement and engagement outside of work? Is a highly engaged individual at work more likely to be a productive, well-adjusted member of society, even a better parent?
Assumptions to Validate or Refute
1. The elements that are conducive to a person being highly engaged with their employer and their work are not all that different than those that would tend to make them more likely to be highly engaged outside of work;
2. A person who is highly engaged in their work environment is likely to also be highly engaged outside of work, and vice versa. One begets the other, no matter which comes first;
3. A highly engaged person is likely to be a well-adjusted, contributing member of society, adhering to and being part of re-enforcing social norms. Therefore, higher levels of workplace engagement have a positive impact on social issues (there are even greater leaps of inference that I won’t get into quite yet-don’t want to push my luck too far);
4. A company that focuses on engineering a high-engagement environment realizes two levels of benefit: the often-correlated bottom-line impacts, and on a more macro scale enhanced image as well as impacting the health of their own local talent pool, both essential to sustainability;
5. Practitioners of engagement are capable of exerting a whole lot broader influence than we may realize.