Employee engagement is a by-product of organisational performance – not the other way round

Do you remember that McGraw-Hill ad with the scowling, bald-headed man with the bow tie staring at you from his executive chair saying?:

  • “I don’t know who you are.”
  • “I don’t know your company”
  • “I don’t know your company’s products”
  • “I don’t know what your company stands for”
  • “I don’t know your company’s customers”
  • “I don’t know your company’s record”
  • “I don’t know your company’s reputation”
  • “Now what was it you wanted to sell me”

I get a little exasperated sometimes when I read yet another article on how to motivate your employees because my experience is that employee engagement is the ultimate dependent variable. So to illustrate this, I’ve rewritten the McGraw ad.

“I don’t know what our company stands for”

“I don’t know our company’s goal”

“I don’t know why no one asks me for my opinion”

“I don’t know how my job contributes to customer satisfaction”

“I don’t know how the company is travelling”

“I don’t know whether my performance is up to expectations”

“I don’t see much evidence of teamwork despite the talk”

“Now what was it about employee engagement you wanted to ask me?”


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