Engagement - it's a buzzword.
I think it's a real concept, but we've driven it into the ground with a thousand different articles to the point where it means different things to different people, and let's face it - most people in our business couldn't agree on what the term means, much less how to promote it in the workplace.
Can everyone in your workplace be engaged? No way - human nature prevents that. Can you figure out who's engaged?
Sure. Just look at who takes the time to perform via email when it doesn't matter. The following email is from a configuration team member at my company who works a lot of hours. Among the thousand things he does for us is own the process of deploying new releases of our software to the production environment (we do hosted solutions, so we own that for customers). When we have a new release that needs to go into production, that gets done overnight - when customers aren't using our app.
When the update process is complete, Steve sends an email to everyone in the company. Recently, Steve made a change. Rather than saying "the new release is up, people", he starting entertaining via email. He didn't have to do that, no one expects that. Now people come in during the morning and his "the new release is up, people" emails went from being deleted unread to being read by everyone. Here's a recent taste, where he took some shots at me, how I title people in my department, the CEO, and the demands of his job (names changed as appropriate):
From: Steve Mannester
Date: April 14, 2010 1:08:31 AM CDT
Subject: DAXKO Accounting 10.2.4 Release Deployed to Production
What’s in a name…
SCM: I have been corresponding with Kristie and noticed her title was Talent Sherpa, what’s that all about?
Kris Dunn: Sherpa is used to refer to local people who are employed as guides for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas, particularly Mt. Everest. They are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local terrain. Thus our Sherpas are DAXKO’s expert guides to seek out the best talent.
SCM: Ohhh, so is everyone getting a new title?
Kris Dunn: We are getting around to everyone. Take our CEO, for instance, his new title is “Grand Poobah”, it’s a Flintstone thing.
SCM: Can I change my title to “Grand Master Flash”?
Kris Dunn: Sorry, David only wants one title with the word “Grand”.
SCM: Can I change my title to “Nike”?
Kris Dunn: Sure, but why Nike?
SCM: Because I am always told “Just Do It”
I just did it…10.2.4 release from DAXKO Accounting has been deployed on RackSpace Production, DataValidation, Demo and Training sites. Conversion has also been updated. All sites up and running.
Classic. Who doesn't love that? 3-4 times a week, he's writing original content. He's either engaged in his own career, via caring what people think, the company, etc., but he's engaged. The bottom line is he's giving something he doesn't have to give, and people love it.
That's engagement. I don't need the Gallap G12 to tell me that. How to get people to want to give that discretionary effort? That's the holy grail.