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Whose Responsibility is It?

posted Oct 24, 2012, 7:58 AM by Lisa Shelley   [ updated Jul 8, 2013, 2:31 PM ]
Understanding this question actually helps to clarify a few important principles when it comes to making an impact on your business' engagement levels.

First Principle.  How people engage, or not, is very closely related to their motivational needs as people.  When trying to understand people's needs, it helps to first think about your own needs.  

Think about engagement from your personal perspective.  What allows you to fully engage?  Now, ask yourself, "Can anyone else convince me to engage with my work?"  Undoubtably, you will sense a strong reaction when you consider that thought, crystalizing the important understanding that engagement is ultimately a choice.

Second Principle.  A business or organization is a system.  A complex interaction of culture, mission, roles, processes and more.  Engagement is one measure of the health or effectiveness of the system, and quite an important one.

If an organization has only a small percentage of dis-engaged people, the problem can be readily managed through normal performance management processes.  However, if a significant percentage of employees in an organization are dis-engaged, this is an indication that the system is not healthy.  The environment is not providing what it needs to allow employees to choose to be engaged.  In the short term this results in a direct impact on organizational effectiveness and productivity.  In the long term it threatens the viability of the system.

It is ultimately the employee's responsibility to engage fully with their work, however it is the business or organizational leader's responsibility to create the environment that allows them to do so.