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Even if you won't be handling money in a new job, the cidret report can indicate if you are a responsible individual who knows how to handle finances (personal or otherwise) and who fulfills their contractual obligations. A cidret report should not be the entirety of an evaluation of a prospective employer, but one of the tools they use to evaluate candidates.

Ron Shewchuk

"When business values employees for all that they can contribute to the business-as-community, we'll begin to see real employee engagement." -- Tim, if that's what "systems thinking" means in the context of employee communications, I'm all for it. I think there is lots of room for innovation in this field. The whole point, I think, of the new social media is to leverage technology to build communities. If it works the way those who promote it say it will, in a few years we're going to have healthier workplaces.

Tim Mantyla

Ron, you're welcome!

Looking forward to the new blog with these concepts.

Another blogger, Tom Johnson at www.idratherbewriting.com, brought up the idea of innovation in technology, then asked how that applies to technical writing and communication.

My comments there mention points related to those above, and raise another: the value of systems thinking.

Systems thinking can spark innovation and should be a key corporate value that organizations foster in employees.

If we look at the forest, see the trees, understand the place of the trees within the forest--and use this holistic viewpoint as a launchpad for new ideas, it sparks creativity and innovation that's sorely needed in the business world (and to solve social problems).

Systems thinking on overall communications within an organization has led to innovations like single sourcing, content management systems (CMS), Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) and dynamic publishing. These technologies can streamline communications and save money.

Systems thinking can be applied to every aspect of a business. The "people" aspect poses one of the biggest challenges to business.

A holistic, systems view says that business is part of a larger community. Business leaders need to recognize how people in their companies can fit into the community.

One way to do that is to foster creativity and systems thinking, as well as to find ways to value and confer prestige on employees. Doing the former often will lead to the latter as employees contribute value to the company.

When business values employees for all that they can contribute to the business-as-community, we'll begin to see real employee engagement.

People want to be a part of a larger group. Insofar as a business can tap into this need in its many dimensions, it should lead to greater success and integration as a corporate community member.

Ideally, business can follow and even lead in promoting some of the ideals we all seem to revere in America: freedom, responsibility, innovation, success and harmony among people.

Ron Shewchuk

What a great comment, Tim! It's so good, in fact, that I'm going to repurpose it as a new blog post so more readers will see it, and maybe it will spark some further discussion. Also glad to see a new player in the blogosphere. Congrats on your blog. R

Tim Mantyla

I really enjoyed this post, and the one referring to Barry Nelson's "Who Speaks for Employees..." on the trend toward a corporate, sometimes antihuman orientation of business.

What's clearly needed (though not so clearly to many corporate execs, apparently) is the sense of community in a business: The feeling that "we're all in this together--what can we give to each other? How can we support each other as just folks, and get business done?"

People are social for a reason: it's part of how we survived without claws, fangs and fur, along with our bigger brains. When businesses realize they have much more to gain by treating employees like valued family members and friends--while still expecting and supporting valuable skills, creativity and other contributions--then they'll get much more loyal workers.

Too often managers seem to believe that strict, bottom-line business needs of a business must overwhelm the human needs of the people who compose the organization. That's when people leave in droves.

How can we serve both needs? How can business thrive while providing an atmosphere like that of an extended family and friends at work? How the organization provide needed prestige to employees, to show everyone the truly value the workers? And how can they get the most out of an employee?

I find that one thing I need most is to be recognized for contributions that I can make to improve my job or some other area of the company, but are not requested, seen or valued by the employer. It's frustrating. And it results in a net loss for the employer and me.

Sometimes just a listening ear, an open door with a never-ending invitation to talk, can make a difference in engagement. It does for me.

My advice to company execs and managers: Ask more questions, and be open to honest answers. Ask your workers about how they would improve things for the company, and ask what would make things better for them personally. Then work to deliver it.

Don't forget to deliver the employees' messages to upper management. Smart management will listen and thank their workers for the ideas, and keep asking for more.

By the way, isn't this kind of thing, called "kaizen" or improvement, in Japan, part of what keeps Toyota and Honda at the top of the auto world in quality?

Ron Shewchuk

Thanks Kristen. You're right, of course. It's almost as if communicating about the need for engagement is a sure sign that a company doesn't actually care about engagement. I wonder if Watson Wyatt could actually correlate the relationship between corporate lip service and poor business performance!


Ron - if I might offer an alternate opinion? While I have nothing against the odd self-serving study, I think the real reason many organizations are, as you put it "losing the battle" for employee engagement is that they aren't actully fighting that battle.

Many of the people I talk to tell the same story, which is that their companies want to TALK a lot about how important employees, and employee engagement are, so long as they don't actually have to DO anything that would make that happen.

As you say, real engagement costs money, not just hiring the fancy consultants, but implementing things that will, in fact, make employees want to come to your company and stay there for some period of time.

It almost seems like some companies out there have convinced themselves that simply by saying "We value employees and want them to be engaged" that this will happen magically.

My opinion has always been just tell employees how it really is rather than trying to fool them because that never works. If this is a dictatorship, fine say so and then live with the consequences. Yes, that sounds dumb, but I think it's just as dumb for management to treat employees like office furniture and then walk around wringing your hands saying "But why isn't everyone engaged?!"

That's when I say "Duh!"

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