Employee Engagement Kool Aid

Kool Aid

I’ve just finished reading ‘Engaging the Right Message?’, a blog post by HRTinker which reflects on an Engage for Success regional event he attended in Leeds yesterday. I think it’s good that Engage for Success is out on the road on a much bigger scale than it has been before now. In earlier days everything seemed very London centric, so kudos for getting out and about, it matters.

I want to pick up something HRTinker said in his post, namely:

‘The worry for me is that there was no cynicism in the room, no one standing outside of the agenda asking is this really being pitched in the right way?’

It’s interesting that the Engage for Success group identifies the importance of winning people over, of converting the cynics, and yet it somehow manages to gently and quietly, and I think unintentionally, quell criticism from within.

From my experience based on attending a lot of Engage for Success activity over the years, I concur with HRTinker’s worry. In fact I’ve blogged critically about Engage for Success several times, to the point where people in the group began to address me as ‘our critical friend’. I think they appreciated the challenge, however since launch, the lack of questioning and constructive criticism has risen further to the point where I don’t feel like I can currently contribute critically like I used to. It feels to me like Engage for Success is heading for its own Drinking The Kool Aid Moment, and I think that is a dangerously detached place to be.

Right now – I feel less engaged with Engage for Success than at any time previously, although on reading HRTinker’s post, maybe I’m not as alone as I felt?

As I finish writing this piece I spy a tweet from psycho_boss asking, ‘So how do we engage CEOs with Engage for Success?’ I may be wrong, I often am, and I think in part, people are drawn to others when they get a sense of being able to have a debate, a sense of open respectful disagreement. So maybe it would help if the group demonstrated that behaviour through accepting and issuing challenge a little more comfortably? What do you think?

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