Employee Engagement: Middle Earth Style
How is the concept of employee engagement best illustrated? Perhaps J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, set in fictional Middle Earth, can help. Similar to a company forming a team to meet a need, characters in the Fellowship of the Ring form a group with the goal of destroying an evil ring, which will meet needs of safety for the world. These heroes are a perfect example of engagement, because they stay committed to the cause and are internally motivated to help, despite dire obstacles. Of course, this fellowship would not have succeeded if it were made up of characters that cared more about getting rich or gaining personal power. Similarly, successful organizations are built of work teams with similar personal and work goals. They share personal values with the organization and their goals align to those of the company, which enables them to be a motivated employee. Beyond their internal motivation, engaged employees are also treated well, which inspires dedicated employee engagement. Check out Center for Work Life’s vlog on employee engagement with emotional intelligence.
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Employee Engagement Recap
Employee Engagement is directly correlated to dedication, loyalty, commitment, and investment. Employee Engagement isn’t directly correlated to happiness or satisfaction; rather those are outcomes of successful employee engagement.
It’s a common question: why is employee engagement important?
Employee engagement is important because it influences work culture and ultimately positively or negatively effects the bottom-line. This can be seen in the success of companies like Google. According to the Harvard Business Review blog, Rackspace motivated their employees with a mantra of fanatical customer service, and their efforts resulted in 48% profit growth since 2008. It’s no secret that most Fortune 500 companies can also be found on the best place to work lists.
Circling back to The Fellowship of the Ring, it’s important to remember that engagement goes back to mission. Though the characters enjoyed gaining new friendships and certainly derived some happiness from becoming heroes, it was the importance of their end goal that kept them engaged. Just ask Johnson & Johnson CEO, Alex Gorsky. He says “Love what you do.” The concept of being mission driven goes beyond his personal values and advice, as it is also a vital part of Johnson & Johnson work culture. He frequently refers to the company’s credo that encompasses a “do good, be well” attitude. He says mission is always part of the discussion in company meetings and decision-making.
Stay mission-focused, recruit wisely, practice employee appreciation and utilize engagement guidance as needed in order to meet goals. Every company has the potential to find their own Frodo, Gandlaf, Aragorn, Legalos, and Gimli. And when the right fellowship forms, the whole world can benefit from the results.