The Fundamental Currency of Engagement

How Energy Is Being Used, Not Time

By Tom Roth

Recent research has indicated that a large majority of managers understand the importance of employee engagement to achieving business results. Yet, further research over the last few years shows that the number of employees who report being fully engaged is decreasing to dangerously low levels. Why is this?

As I have worked with leaders from a number of organizations in a variety of industries, I have observed that there is really no common understanding about what engagement means, let alone what to do about it. Two important points about engagement need to be made.

First, how energy is being used, not time, is the fundamental currency of engagement. By that I am referring to the combination of employees’ perceptions (from negative to positive) of the changes occurring in the organization and the amount of physical energy expended (from low to high) responding to external and internal demands. Simply stated, engaged employees are those who perceive what is happening in the organization as positive and choose to put forth high energy as a result.

That leads to the second point. You cannot force someone to be engaged—it is their choice. You can mandate the amount of time employees put in, but how they use their energy is their choice.

What does this mean for leaders in your organization? Among all the responsibilities of a leader, one of the most important is to actively and intentionally work to create a culture of engagement. You do this by being a positive role model for the beliefs and practices you want shared by all employees and by encouraging them to share those same beliefs and practices.

What should leaders do? I suggest you find out what is most important to your employees and identify the critical elements that influence their choice to engage or not. Then, proactively do what you can to ensure those elements are part of an engagement culture.

What do you think are the most important elements of a culture of engagement?


Tom Roth

Tom Roth是Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc.(美国)的首席运营官和Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc.(日本)的总裁,他拥有40多年的人力绩效提升解决方案开发和实施的经验,负责Wilson Learnin全球集团的战略方向和业务绩效。此外,他还领导全球营销服务和解决方案研发部门,负责所有解决方案和价值主张白皮书的研发。他在员工敬业度、领导力发展、战略调整和业务转型相关领域,为全球的领导团队提供协助。在担任现任职务之前,他曾担任全球研发和解决方案研发部门总裁,也曾担任Wilson Learning Corporation的总裁。

Tom Roth在开发和实施人力绩效提升解决方案领域拥有丰富的经验。他合著了《如何使企业重新找回活力》(英文原文),《创建高性能团队》(英文)的,并在众多商业出版物上发表过文章。他是一位在国内、国际会议和客户活动上活跃的演讲者,涉及内容广泛,其中包括:领导力、员工参与度、变革和战略实施。