Monday, October 26, 2009

Case Studies in Employee Engagement

by David Zinger

Let’s look at a couple of case studies on employee engagement.

Case study #1:

Tina works at a local gas station as the cashier. Tina is fully engaged. She offers welcoming teasing/banter with each customer, she is the most efficient person I have seen on a cash register, she engages the other employees and has them providing more efficient service, and she uses the word ‘we’ when she talks about the company she works for. I will go out of my way to get gas when Tina is working there.

Tina is an exceptional model of employee engagement. She doesn’t know what the term means; she has never been surveyed. When I asked her about her approach to work and her level of engagement, she was surprised by the question and took it for granted that everyone should be engaged.

Case study #2:

Bob is the antithesis of Tina and was chronically disengaged on the job before finally retiring. He even built a spreadsheet to determine when his last day of work would be and couldn’t wait till the day arrived. He hated his job, he hated the people he worked with, and he didn’t care for his company. When I asked him if there was something he did like, he replied, “golf.”
I bumped into Bob a year after he retired and he still looked miserable. I asked him about golf and now he hated golf. He told me it was like a job to him and exhibited how disengagement at work can seep into the rest of our lives outside the company.

The ‘key’ to successful employee engagement

Whether you’re a Tina or a Bob, when it comes to employee engagement, I believe there is value in the plethora of perspectives to show the richness of the concept and that it is necessary to give space for each company, organization, and individual to play engagement in their own key.

Engagement helps employees remain valuable while ensuring the organization is viable. Engagement is not only how we approach work but can also act as a compass to powerful leadership, management, and performance.