Employee engagement? Maybe it’s a consultant-driven scam.

Image for post
Image for post

I personally love the idea of “employee engagement,” even if no one seems to truly understand it, because it seems logical to me that we should care and/or have empathy for the people working for us and helping us make the products and processes that make us money. Right?

Here’s the essential problem, two-fold: most people don’t see it as tied to revenue (and anything not tied to revenue = less of a priority at most places) and people love trying to solve it with software, but that’s fraught as well. You can’t solve a person/empathy issue with a computer program. That’s not life.

Recently I’ve had this other thought, right? Companies love to hire consultants, and consultants — while often focused on the bottom line, as they should be — often do bring in issues and concepts around engagement, culture, ideation, etc.

Well, what if … and bear with me here for a second … what if, in the last decade, consultants started coming in to organizations, and the leaders of those organizations started saying “Look, we’d prefer to pay these people less and get more work out of ’em, if we could…”

A consultant’s job, essentially, is to take that and run with it. So what if they concocted this idea of “employee engagement” — Freaky Fun Friday! and iPads instead of bonuses! — basically as a way to pay us all less and keep the extra slush for the management?

It does seem like “employee engagement” as a concept has only taken off in the last decade. Conventional logic is that we have a new generation coming up, and we’re supposed to care about different things. (That might not even be true.) What if the actual logic is that the whole idea is a scam designed to keep earnings down while “boosting morale?”

Possibility, no?

My name’s Ted Bauer; I blog here regularly and you can learn about hiring me for freelance and contract gigs as well. You can also subscribe to my newsletter.

Written by

Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store