Corporate Culture

Engaged employees are essential – But who is responsible

Who is responsible for employee engagement

The research is clear that employee engagement is a major driver and competitive advantage for an organization to become high performing and achieve its goals.

But most employee engagement dialogue are focused on what the company should do to engage employees. There’s normally nothing on what the employee needs to do to engage themselves.

Employees should take responsibility for engagement

But shouldn’t employees take more responsibility for their own engagement?

Is management the sole responsible for employee engagement

There has been a lot of discussion about a shift in thinking about the responsibility for employee engagement, with this new shift now placing this responsibility back on the employee. Yes, employees do have the ability to make a decision about their attitudes towards the organization.

Victor Lipman makes a great point in his article “Why employee engagement is not just the job of management”.

Employees themselves, and the attitudes and mindsets with which they choose to approach each day, are key elements in the engagement equation

In his book, “Employee engagement for everyone”, Kevin Kruse points out:

Your company and your manager have a large role to play when it comes to employee engagement.  But half the battle is up to you.  You can choose your attitude.  You need to be mindful of engagement

Managers are only ½ the equation, in the words of Paul Hebert:

Employees have a job to do as well.  Just like the opening line of the speech, managers have a job AND employees have a job – if they want to truly impact engagement, satisfaction, retention, etc.(…)

As a manager or as a company – if you spend too much time creating “engagement” strategies to keep employees, without asking for something in return, you foster an entitlement mentality. Your employees can smell that fear.  And they just might take advantage of it. If you’re a manager – balance the scales. If you’re an “employee” (aren’t we all) – balance the scales.

Of course companies should do whatever they can to engage employees, but it should be a two-way street and employees should take responsibility for engagement themselves.

Taking a flight where one flight attendant was engaged and happy and one was “cynical and miserable”. They have the same uniform, the same pay and the same employee engagement programme.

Better to ask “active” rather than “passive” questions around engagement

Accountability is an essential part of any strategy – Employee engagement make no exception

It is often better to ask “active” rather than “passive” questions around engagement, as passive questions that receive a negative response encourage the individual to blame the environment rather than think about how they might change their own behaviour for the better.

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Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom

View Comments

  • I believe change starts as well as the culture will change base on how the leaders treat the employee at work the atmosphere that they have been surrounded with everyday they come to workthey easily adopt things it doesn't matter for them if it's right or wrong but once they engaged themselves into that type of atmosphere they think everything is normal and right. This is base on my observation.

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