Employee Engagement is Not the Goal; It’s the Starting Point

If you search for books on employee engagement on Amazon, you’ll get more than 7200 results.  It’s as if mere engagement is the end-all, be-all “holy grail” that employers are striving to achieve. Most employees arrive to the job on day #1 fully engaged, which is to say they have a vested interest in meeting or even exceeding your expectations. Like you, they’re optimistic about the opportunities of the job and they want to put their best face forward and make a strong first impression to gain your trust and be perceived as a great fit with promising long-term prospects.

The challenge facing employers isn’t how to engage employees. It’s how to keep the fires of passion burning once the honeymoon period is over.  Too often the focus is all about sweeping people off their feet with a sexy job posting, romancing them throughout the interview process, and then proposing to them with a pie-in-the-sky offer of a rosy future. When the desired candidate says, “I do,” the employer chalks that up to a victory and goes in search of the next proposal.

Today, those companies that are attracting and retaining the top talent in their respective industries have their sights set on more than just “I do.”  They concentrate heavily on inspiring an ever-increasing level of performance and productivity that continues to blossom as the employment relationship matures. And to achieve that result, they know that they have to keep the romance alive long after the honeymoon phase has ended.

In a search to find out how today’s top employers have been able to burst through this ‘engagement ceiling’ to create cultures where employees consistently perform as if they own the company, I’ve found seven cultural pillars (see side bar) that are common to the truly great companies.

Why set your sights on merely having your people engaged in their jobs and your business? Aim higher.  Invest your time, money, and resources in making your company the best possible place anyone could want to work for, and you’ll draw the top talent to you without investing heavily in high-end recruiting tactics.


Seven Cultural Pillars that Inspire Employee Performance

1. Compensation (money, perks, benefits, work-life balance)
2. Alignment (meaningful work for an ethical company)
3. Growth (an opportunity to learn and advance)
4. Acknowledgment (feeling valued, appreciated and rewarded)
5. Autonomy (encouraged to think and make decisions)
6. Communication (kept informed and being listened-to)


By Eric Chester

Eric Chester is an award-winning keynote speaker, thought leader, and bestselling author on employee engagement and the millennial mindset. His new book, On Fire at Work: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in their People without Burning Them Out releases nationwide on October 15th, 2015. Eric can be reached at 303-239-9999 or www.EricChester.com.