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Employee Engagement: are we dumbing it down?

Are we in danger of dumbing down a business must?

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A recent trend in employee engagement seems to indicate a growing focus on what can be described as the 'finishing touches' on an engaging workplace (e.g. perks such as food, social nights, bring your pet to work etc), rather than on the actual drivers of engagement.  It seems like there is a hurry to do something popular and visible, but ultimately not very engaging.

To make the finishing touches effective requires clear leadership, communication, values, meaningful work and employees who genuinely feel valued and recognised etc.

Are we in danger of rushing to the end result without doing the more sustainable and engaging groundwork along the way?  Interested in your thoughts.

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Shonette new
By Shonette
04th Sep 2015 15:02

Good point - I wrote a blog recently about our company culture code (you can find it via my profile page), which not only outlined our recent drawing up of a company purpose and key values, but also these 'finishing touches' such as an office spruce up, free fruit in the office and those much-appreciated socials :)
I think that these more visible actions are important but agree that the key is to have those values and expectations agreed upon and set in place first so that employees don't just think that these gestures are a quick-fix to perk people up.
I've worked at other organisations where they've tried to address low morale with a one-off delivery of free pizza, or a team day out - ultimately these did little to change the mindsets of employees who just saw these actions as acknowledgement that the atmosphere was bad but that the organisation didn't want to do anything more extensive about it. Interested to hear what others think though!

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Replying to Shonette:
Nigel McPolin: Organisational Psychologist, Employee Engagement Expert,CEO etimes2 ltd
By etimes2
07th Sep 2015 17:21

Thanks for your comment. I absolutely agree with you Shonette. If the working environment is engaging then these 'finishing touches' can be very effective as practically all employees can enjoy them.

However, if nothing has been done to make the workplace environment engaging -e.g. clear communications, good leadership, employee contributions valued etc - these these finishing touches are hugely ineffective, maybe even damaging.

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Shonette new
By Shonette
07th Sep 2015 17:33

We also had a response on Twitter from People Dynamics HR: "Agreed...a company has got to get the underlying principles right.first before putting the icing on."

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