Unknown-7I’m now thoroughly confused. After a week of attacking employee engagement, I’m reaching the conclusion that it is just another one of the many factors to consider in workplace success. Hear me out.

  1. There are some people who will never be engaged. You should fire them.
  2. There are some people who are always engaged, no matter what you do to them. You should hire more people like this.
  3. That leaves the engage-able rump who can be engaged if you work at it.
  4. But if you’re doing really well, the chances are that they’ll be engaged already so you don’t need to do anything here.
  5. And if you’re doing really badly, I suggest that engagement isn’t the problem and you should fix some business basics first.
  6. Which leaves the one situation that warrants working on employee engagement. When things are going OK and there are some people who you can engage to better effect to improve results.

This last situation is where we are in the software industry. The report we released in March on Software Industry Productivity  shows that  while productivity in the industry is improving, the industry is just barely breaking even. This is the sweet spot when things are going OK, not terribly and not really well.

And boy are there things that can be done. The report on Employee Engagement in the Tech Industry that we released this month shows that employees, for the most part:

  • Are not highly engaged;
  • Aren’t highly supportive of their employer’s mission;
  • Don’t get enough recognition; and
  • Don’t get enough feedback.

When asked whether they would recommend their company as a good place to work to a friend or colleague, only 23% of Canadians and 29% of American tech employees would strongly agree.

This is something we can work on improving.

Many years ago, an IBM executive responsible for management training told me that they gave tons of leadership training to new managers just so they wouldn’t go and screw things up for all of their highly valuable direct reports and cause them to be disengaged and quit. IBM had invested too much in them for their managers to mess it up.

It looks like we need some remedial leadership development in the tech industry.

And it looks like I better get off my soap box and on to something more interesting next week. And to think that all of this was started by one little article in the Globe.