Messiness, meaning and engagement

It was a movie moment right out of I Robot: the logic was irrefutable.

At an all-hands meeting, Brad, the two-hundred employee firm’s president,  spelled out the newly-revised process — created by a small hand-picked team of three people — for manufacturing the company’s flagship product. No process detail had been omitted. Every possible process contingency had been evaluated and factored in. The work flow sequencing was precise, scientific and measurable in every aspect. The logic was irrefutable.

Irrefutable. Unemotional. Detached. Impersonal. Precise.

And in such stark contrast to the organization’s stated objective to foster employee engagement and involvement.

The project team hadn’t sought suggestions or feedback at any step in the revision process. The reason for the change wasn’t given. There were no advance communications of the impending change. Impacts on changed job skills, pay rates and performance requirements weren’t considered. Brad’s no-nonsense rollout meeting was a one-way monologue with no questions taken.

Driving real employee engagement requires both touching hearts and filling minds. It’s messy. It’s imprecise. It’s emotional.  Capturing employee commitment, engagment and loyalty doesn’t happen without them.

Is your firm creating work process after work process, hoping for engagement yet not seeing it happen?

If so, maybe it’s time for a little messiness.

Photo source:  Itexpert



4 Responses to Messiness, meaning and engagement

  1. You are absolutely correct, Jane. Engaging with people is messy business. Their lives, hearts and minds extend well beyond the tidy little work flow charts we try to fit them into. Things happen in the office, the customer’s run late and haven’t done the paperwork, people feel pulled in different directions by multiple levels of supervisor’s who do not communicate clearly with each other, etc, and they have to make on-the-fly decisions about how to move forward.

    Good customer service and good people skills do not come from trying to stick to the manual. Good customer service comes from employees who feel supported in being able to think outside of the proverbial box, when needed. We want people on the front lines who can think, and feel and accommodate the needs of other people

    • Martina - exquisite advice and guidance! Many organizations forget that all work gets done by and through people who, as you as accurately point out, crammed be squeezed into a flow charts that’s devoid of compassion. Well said and big thanks for sharing!

  2. It sounds like a matter of goals without vision. I can’t think of a vision statement that doesn’t connect with hearts.

    If we work backward from vision statements to goals, I suspect the goals will not be able to be accomplished with simple procedural changes.

  3. Janet - companies can have all the right words on paperwork but it’s translating those words into action that drive involvement and engagement where they fall short. Thanks much for adding to the discussion!

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