The world has long been talking about the topic of employee engagement, or rather how come that more and more workforce around the globe is disengaged. Looking at the past decade, it seems that the more effort HR is putting in helping address the topic of employee engagement, the lower the employee engagement index becomes. Resources are invested in redesign of talent development and management systems and tools, in automation of HR to bring it in sync with the ever changing technologies, in optimization of the rewards programs to ensure that they are directly linked to the organizational performance, in fostering transparency and communication. Just to name a few…

And the engagement study published by Gallup in January 2016 shows that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged (32% in the US). So, what is it? How can we break through this downward spiral? What do we do or don’t do that leads to these results?

Let us look at the the definition of employee engagement. Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.

What kind of emotions do your HR programs, processes, tools inspire in your organizations? Once you have announced changes that you are going to implement and that are logically for the best of your organization, do you guide your organization to the feelings of excitement, joy, passion? Or do you raise awareness about the necessity of these changes, answer sporadic employee questions and then leave your organization in stress, fear, anxiety, anger, and finally acceptance that the change is inevitable and therefore everyone just has to live with it?

You engage the minds of the employees by providing logical explanations about the changes you make, programs you have, new tools you implement. This important step is usually mastered very well by the organizations. And here comes the breakthrough point:

  • You instill indifference, or emotional disengagement when changes are pursued simply because they have been decided upon, when you leave your employees in stress, anxiety, anger, knowing that they will have to comply with the new way of action anyhow along the way.
  • You inspire emotional commitment when you connect to the hearts of the employees, leading them to the feelings of excitement, joy, interest and willingness to continue on the new journey.

We need to engage both the minds and the hearts of our employees if we want to break through this downward spiral of employee disengagement. And how do we do that? By using the power of co-creation. We see it being applied successfully by many companies for product design, engineering, marketing, customer service. Co-creation is the driver of creativity, commitment, innovation. And when embraced by HR, co-creation can help establish strong company culture and address the topic of employee engagement once and for all.

Co-creation is the way to move forward for organizations aspiring to become extraordinarily attractive to top talent around the globe and to succeed in the long-term.