In our bid to define and precisely quantify using technical nomenclature the role and meaning of a designation we miss out on the complete picture. For instance here is the dictionary meaning for an employee
A person who works for another in return for financial or other compensation.
While we fix a meaning and see through the filters of this definition we miss out on the fact that the employee is also a father , a writer , a traveller , and so much else besides.
This need not come as a surprise , after all, he is a human being , he has to have all these other facets. But in our haste to define his role for organisational purposes we cut out a small part of his-self and fix him into the organisation chart. Then we try to engage this cutout and call it ” employee engagement”.
No wonder “employee engagement” levels in an average organisation of any size works out to 30%. That is, only 30% of the employees are fully engaged. What about the remaining 70%. Well they are happy. They are satisfied.Most of them might do what is expected of them – but nothing more.
Can we complain?
When any “employee” steps into the office he leaves his other facets at the door and takes on the Mask suited to his workplace.
This employee engagement factor has been playing on my mind ever since I read this book – Lincoln on Leadership
Lincoln lived during a time when most HR management concepts of today did’nt exist. People were first and foremost people though they carried tags like General or President. But when they went to office they took their complete persona with them.
Unlike today, where the organisational role has become such a big tag that all the other facets of an employee become secondary or tertiary. the employee moulds himself into his “cutout”.
Though Lincoln had a huge task at hand – he was the president of a nation going through an existential crisis – but to his trusted colleagues – he displayed the usual respect and affection that any two longterm pals might display towards each other. There was no employee engagement happening here – it was just being “natural” or human.
to be continued ….