Engagement vs Commitment
The buzz word in HR these days is “engagement.” The reality is engagement is based in the wrong principles. Engagement is a term steeped in bribery, and babysitting. The employees that need to have more gaming consoles and never ending access to soda fountains and other bribes are staying just as long as the perks keep coming. As soon as there are better toys and treats, with another company, they move on in an ever increasing, temporary state of employment.
Engagement is a temporary state and never amounts to the commitment found in earlier generations work ethic where loyalty to a company was a lifetime commitment and there was a gold watch at the end of the career and retirement.Will those days ever come back into fashion? Probably not. However, “commitment” is by its very nature what is missing in employment today.
The easiest test of engagement vs commitment is accomplished by taking away the free lunch, soda machine, or gaming consoles in the break room. What happens? Try it sometime and complaints, angry comments and self entitled attitude raises its ugly head. That’s right. The more that is “given” in the name of engagement, the more entitled the workforce. Commitment is not present and never was.
Commitment is a different culture, a different mindset, a real team mindset. Commitment only happens in an environment of principle based performance. Team members learn the “WHY,” are enrolled in the vision and understand that sometimes painful, stressful and unpleasant circumstances happen, are unavoidable, and in fact necessary for anything to be accomplished.
Additionally, “engagement” separates the team from the management as it is designed and created in management conference rooms from the question “what will keep those people engaged,” where commitment is centered in the person as a matter of principle and understanding where the team member is respected and given ownership and autonomy in the project, team or product.
In the end, only commitment has any lasting value. Try this principle out with anything lasting and substantial. We are “engaged” to be married, however “commitment” is the definition of marriage. What if all employees stayed “committed’ to their team for 10, 20 or 50 years? What would that look like for your company?
Commitment is a Life Defense principle. That’s why it works!