Solving the Employee Engagement Equation

Maddie and I are BEYOND excited to announce the release of our next book, The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement (for Millennials, Boomers, and Everyone Else!). It’s part of a series of Non-Obvious Guides that our publisher (IdeaPress, led by the super-smart Rohit Bhargava) is starting. Ours is one of the first three to be released on January 1 (Rohit wrote one on Small Business Marketing, and Andrea Driessen wrote one on Event Planning).

We wrote this book because we know leaders everywhere are inherently frustrated that their organizations are not reaching their full potential. We’re not talking about out-and-out failure here—most organizations manage at least moderate success. But I know that leaders want more. They have great expectations for their companies, and they’re not sure why, year after year, they fall at least a little bit short of those expectations.

We know at least one key reason why—disengaged employees. For more than a decade now, we’ve watched the business world freak out about the low levels of employee engagement (typically reported to be down in the 30-35% range), yet after spending literally billions to fix this problem, the numbers, at best, go up by a percentage point or two. And some years they actually go down. Why? Because we’ve been solving the wrong equation.

We have been solving for happiness, when we should be solving for success. All engagement surveys out there do fundamentally the same thing: they measure happiness. They measure what your employees like and don’t like about their current situation, and armed with that data (focusing mostly on the “red” scores where people are unhappy), we launch programs, we create slide decks, and we write reports about how to make people more happy. And while making people happy has the best of intentions, it’s clearly not working (just look at the engagement scores globally).

Here’s the real employee engagement equation; the one that will get you real results:

ƒ(success) = engagement

Engagement is a function of success. It’s not about being happy, and it’s not about liking or disliking your workplace environment. It’s about whether you spend your work day on activities that make both you and your organization more successful. When that happens, engagement is the natural result.

In the book, we show you what that looks like, and we also show you exactly how to start changing your workplace culture in order to get it more tightly aligned with what drives success. We offer a “playbook model” for improving engagement and provide three whole chapters with specific recommendations for making changes to processes, structure, and technology that will start to move the needle. We even provide some tips for HR on how to be proper stewards of this culture and engagement work.

If you were thinking about a New Year’s resolution related to improving performance and engagement in your organization, then you might want to pre-order this book so that it arrives in that first week of January.

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