Creating Employee Engagement, Part 1

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 03-01-10


Learning happens in the classroom. Coaching happens through a formal mentor often away from our work. At least that’s what we’ve been lead to believe.

But that view has many limitations.

As it applies to learning, learning is never internalized in the classroom. There is a difference between information, which is in the head, and knowledge, which is the ability to apply that information. What we ultimately care about is the latter. Except in a few extreme cases such as military simulations and teaching hospitals, application of knowledge is either skipped altogether or is quite contrived and limited.

As it applies to coaching, coaching requires knowledge of the current state, feedback, and active experimentation. None of these can happen effectively or efficiently away from the work. A sports coach requires observing the athlete in action and providing feedback in ways that help expose the gap between what is intended and what is realized.

So the assumptions are flawed. We must discard these ideas that most mechanisms of engagement can be mechanistic, contrived, and event-based. Instead, engagement must be fluid, at the point of activity, and continual. So how do you created that? I propose looking at it from a combination of building the right culture that enables and even values engagement, building the right systems or management infrastructure, and building skills in both employees and managers to make it all work.

In the following posts, I will explore each of these areas.

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