The New Buzz Phrase: Employee Engagement

Examining employee commitment to organizational priorities isn’t necessarily a new concept but it’s definitely one that is trending in 2014.  It has even left one writer even asking “is employee engagement the new black?”

After seeing the headlines in so many places, I can’t help but wonder, why now?  Management 101 fad or cultural paradigm shift? In a world where the job market is still tough, it’s not necessarily an employer’s market.  Company culture, benefits, perks, and overall brand are still major factors for job seekers to consider.

So, what gives? Why now?

Is it the new generation of millennials entering the workplace that are influencing the way we do business?
Is it that technology has forced work and life to merge more than it has in the past and therefore we need more out of our work?
Has the emerging dotted line between profitability and employee happiness simply become a strategic advantage business can’t afford to ignore?
Have we redefined leadership for 2014 and beyond?

In his book, The Purpose Economy, Aaron Hurst, asserts that  “purpose has now become a business imperative. In today’s world, running an organization without an intentional emphasis on purpose for employees and customers is like running an organization in the early 1990s and failing to implement technology.”   Alum Arthur Woods (B’10), Co-Founder of Imperative recently presented on the subject via the ACS webinar program in January.

A few case studies:
Zappos has an entire website about their culture:  http://www.zapposinsights.com/The CEO of Zappos often discusses corporate culture and has been quoted as saying “So many people when they go to the office, they leave a little bit of themselves at home, or a lot of themselves at home. And they have to put on this different persona in the office, especially in corporate environments. And our whole…there’s a lot of talk about work life separation or balance and so on, whereas our whole thing is about work life integration. Its just life.”
Google donates $50 for every five hours an employee volunteers. Last year a new program sent employees to Ghana and India to work on community projects. (Not to mention they provide kitchens stocked with gourmet food and onsite laundrey services!)
Recreational Equipment (REI) uses social media to offer an online “company campfire” providing associates and executives the ability to share their thoughts and participate in lively debates and discussions.
Dreamworks Animation headquarters is visited by fresh-juice trucks to distribute free smoothies, and employees are given stipends to personalize workstations.

We want to know: What have you noticed about employee engagement trends in your workplace? What is your employer doing to engage you in the mission and culture of your organization? 

Further reading:

Employee Engagement is  A Leadership Commitment
Create  a Vocabulary That Inspires Employee Engagement
It’s Time to Rethink the Employee Engagement Issue
5 Secrets to Better Employee Engagement
5 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement Now

 

Image source: http://www.miniworkshopseries.com/highlights/?p=776

 

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What We’re Reading This Week

Daniel Pink

Greetings from the Hilltop, blog readers!  Whitney Pezza, Associate Director, Alumni Career Services, here to guest blog today, and share with you one of my new favorite books, “To Sell Is Human” by Daniel Pink.

I’m a longtime Daniel Pink fan, and I love his work.  In fact, one of my proudest career moments was when Mr. Pink replied to one of my Hoya Gateway tweets. (Seriously, see the picture below). I recommend this particular book to anyone and everyone.  Here’s the short summary:

Who should read it? Anyone who is interested in being a more effective persuader. Anyone who is interested in better understanding the people with whom they work and interact.

Why? According to Pink, everyone is in sales now, and in order to be an effective seller, it’s crucial to understand how to best persuade others to take action.  The days of the sleazy car salesperson should be long behind us – sales is about much more thank most people think, and everyone is doing it.  Pink commissioned a study that shows that  people, from lawyers to teachers, spend 40% of their work time selling something.

Quotable: In an interview about his book, Daniel Pink discusses why the book and the traits he outlines within are pertinent to everyone, regardless of their industry, “Whether we’re selling an idea, a product, or ourselves, we need a high degree of openness, honesty, and transparency. It’s a very different world and a lot of the research shows that doing well in this world depends on having fundamentally human qualities — understanding people’s perspectives or leaving people better off.”

I hope you find the time to enjoy and learn from this book!  Be sure the check out the discussion guide, too.

Daniel Pink 2

Expand Your Twitterverse

Top 10 Twitter feeds to expand your career.

Forbes
Forbes
Forbes Woman
@Forbes
Homepage for the world’s business leaders.
@ForbesWoman
For entrepreneurially minded women who mean business.

Fast Company
Fast Company
@FastCompany
Inspiring leaders to think beyond traditional boundaries and create the future of business

Washington Post on Leadership
@post_lead
Leadership in the news.

Entrepreneur
@EntMagazine
Entrepreneur Magazine’s handle. Inspiring, informing, and celebrating entrepreneurs since 1973.

Lindsey Pollack
@lindseypollack
Millennial workplace expert and LinkedIn ambassador.

Anita Bruzzese
@anitabruzzese
USA Today columnist and author.

Cali Williams Yost
@caliyost
Flexible workplace strategist.

Jacquelyn Smith
@JacquelynVSmith
Writes about jobs, careers, and the workplace for Forbes.

John Keyser (GU Alum!)
@johnkeysercoach
Leadership coach… and GU Alum & webinar presenter.

Talane Miedaner (GU Alum!)
@talanemiedaner
Life coach & executive coach… and GU Alum & webinar presenter.

And obviously don’t forget to follow Georgetown Alumni Career Services! @GeorgetownACS

What twitter feeds do you follow for your career?

What We Are Reading

Image

Bridget Holmes, Senior Director, Career Initiatives:
A Year Without Pants: WordPress & The Future of Work
I’m just diving in to this newly released book and am already intrigued. Who can even fathom work without email? It may become a thing of the past, according to author Scott Belkum.  This book offers a behind-the-scenes look at the firm behind WordPress.com and the unique work culture that contributes to its success.  Stay tuned for my reactions!

Whitney Pezza, Associate Director, Alumni Career Services:
To Sell Is Human
Jason Levin (MBA’06) recommended Daniel Pink’s book, To Sell Is Human, after a branding workshop we did with him.  It’s a fascinating book in which Pink offers a glimpse into the new science of sales (long gone are the days of door-to-door selling) and offers the new best practices for moving others.  Pink explains that everyone works in sales; he even commissioned a study that shows that people spend about 40 percent of their work time persuading people.  No matter your industry, it’s a fantastic and very useful read!  

Sarah Hay, Assistant Director of Alumni Career Services:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking
I am in the middle of reading Susan Cain’s New York Times bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and find it fascinating.  As an extrovert, I thought it would be wise for me to read this book and gain a perspective on how “the other half lives.” So far it’s been eye opening to not only hear Cain compare the decision-making styles and behaviors  between the two traits, but show how the United States transformed in to a country that promotes extroversion in every facet of society – especially the workplace!  I’m excited to continue reading Cain’s analysis on how adopting introverted traits may not be the worst thing for our current and future leaders.

We want to know: what books are on your reading list?