Why Does Employee Engagement Rely on Self-Change Skills?
“I know I can be difficult but don’t worry, you’ll change.”
The Modern Workplace
How many of us are conscious enough to be excited about trading in the traditional sense of security for perpetual growth?
In essence, this is what the new workplace offers, as well as demands.
For the vast majority of us, real change is a frightening prospect. For example, when we began our programs in 1990, most of our participants were pursuing one significant professional change. After making that transition, many would tell me, “I’m glad that is over.” But it wasn’t over. The world just became faster and faster. Now, imagine how much the national workplace will improve if we develop a thirst for learning and growth within ourselves and throughout our organizations.
It will require us to reinvent, learn, unlearn, and relearn in shorter periods. When we ask or order our employees to “snap out of it” or “get used to it,” how can most of them comprehend how to do that? Yet many leaders continue to display the “do it or else” tactic only pushes more “going through the motions.”
Similarly, any notion that people should somehow be skilled at continuous personal change is far-fetched. Organizations, realistically, must develop their workers to not only understand change but to learn how to change themselves continuously.
But let’s get real. There isn’t a corporate budget in the world to pay for the consulting fees it would take to do this. Yet, when we move the entire process in-house where it belongs, the financial investments are minimal, especially when we factor in the increases in performance and engagement that will ensue. It can be hard for CEOs to do this when much of their time is being used by cleaning up the problems of a disengaged workforce.
The purpose of employee engagement isn’t about working harder or even being more productive. Engagement is being awake, interested, enthused, empathetic, helpful, and growing rather than being stagnant. An engaged national workforce is the single most crucial target for America’s future. In all probability, that will never happen because of our government. It will happen when employers realize that building their own highly engaged workforce is a far better strategy than laying everyone off when they become obsolete.
We live next to one of the country’s largest grocery stores. But, we only shop there when times we need an item right now. Disinterest and surliness is the norm. Not only do we encounter a bad attitude at the front of the house, but we have also had to bring back rotten food routinely. So, we drive 5 miles to shop at a store with higher prices. We also go to Trader Joe’s where the average tenure of a cashier is 18 years. I’ve written about Trader Joe’s, Southwest Airlines, Cornerstone on Demand as cultures where the CEO leads engagement, employees are grown to succeed, and support to each other breeds support to the customer and shareholders.
We have been delivering group engagement programs for years. When people find out what their peers most want to accomplish when they understand the challenges that are in that person’s way, the entire dynamic changes.
Germany, Japan, China, and other nations are role models in preparing their citizens for the future of work. Instead of assuming that an obsolete worker is a worthless expense, they routinely invest in keeping employees up-to-date with their skills.
In the United States, I believe our future rests in individuals that embody the American spirit, the ones that do not wait for others to help them. It is also emerging from the organizations that are already building such workers. In all cases, the CEO leads the culture. These CEOs mindfully grow talent, and mentorship is a way of life.
For the leaders that don’t get it, untruthful sales pitch no longer fool premium talent. The transparency revolution will see to that. It is time for our country to start treating the most exceptional talent pool on earth for what it is.
It is our most valuable asset.
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