It's Time to Broaden Our Approach to Employee Engagement

Bravo Dr. Juniper!  You are so right about how much employers lose when they focus on engagement and not employee well-being.

Engagement surveys (like employee opinion surveys) give organizations valuable insights on how the employee feels about their work and their employer.  But that is just one part of an individual, and typically organizations want the whole person to show up to work.

So what else is there?

What about satisfaction with personal life, resilience, career aspirations, sense of spiritual connectedness, health and wellness, and financial responsibilities?  These are several areas known to influence how we experience the quality of our lives.  And they are as of yet unknown to the organization in a systematic way.

We get energy from all the areas of our lives that are important to us.  So by not supporting those other areas, the potential source of energy is limited and engagement levels can be compromised. How an individual is feeling represents the energy to be engaged in the first place... and so it goes.

But -- is now the time for organizations to broaden their responsibility of the workforce?

For many of us, being at work or involved in work-related activities represents the majority of our time awake.  And that means work has a profound effect on us, good or bad, and by extension on society (since approximately two-thirds of the non-institutionalized civilian U.S. population over 16 years old is working).

So I think yes, employers need to broaden their existing approach to a well-being model of workforce support. This customized understanding of the unique challenges of employees can offer clarity into the areas of support that would make a difference, and would offer a competitive edge from a highly engaged and committed workforce.  

Written by: Andrea Wicks Bowles

About the Author

Andrea Wicks Bowles at Bright Horizons

As Senior Consultant, Director Global Initiatives, Horizons Workforce Consulting, Andrea works with Bright Horizons clients to enhance the effectiveness of their employees and strengthen their position as an employer of choice. Her knowledge of global child care policies, organizational effectiveness, and work/life industry trends combined with analytical skills is used to help clients uncover their unique issues and challenges. Andrea, a frequent speaker at work/life conferences, is a key contributor to Bright Horizons' research investigations.