An incredibly momentous decision is permeating the C-Suite today:  the prioritization of Employee Engagement.

After decades of relegating engagement to events, messaging, celebrations, and the occasional round table to determine what employees want, a true understanding of employee involvement is taking hold.

And, at the right level!

So, now what?

Employee Engagement in a digital age is a completely different animal.  It encompasses and envelopes the entire social make-up of the organization.  It involves multiple functions all working in concert – akin to a symphony-with one goal in mind: encourage interaction with each other around the business interests in a manner that results in mutual benefit.  This can be viewed in terms of career growth, personal development, goal achievement, individual purpose, and advocacy.

Engagement is now about listening intently and proactively activating content, context, programs, platforms, and efforts vs. packaging information against a pre-determined calendar that bears no resemblance to the state of the business.

It means CEOs and other senior leaders must recalibrate techniques and methods for how they lead.  Being more flexible with time and more adaptable with rhetoric. It most assuredly means conveying what is happening in the business more frequently and much broader in reach.

To get there just having leadership discover engagement is only the first step albeit a critical one.  A redesign of several areas – HR, Communications, Production, Marketing, Finance – is essential.  Each group interprets engagement against a common set of principles reinforcing common themes and activating efforts at their own cadence and pace.  This mixture of sounds and activities results in the very engagement being sought.

For Communications, employee engagement is the culmination of its very existence especially given a digital workforce.   The relevance needed to connect and sustain relationships is now the provenance of employees themselves not the organization.  No more guessing. Not more false positives.  Listening, data and analysis, and behavioral insights provide a real time understanding of employee habits.

Engagement has evolved. The myth is that somehow it hasn’t and that traditional methods and strategy still apply.   While it has become a leadership priority – thankfully – unless it’s defined, designed, and developed as part of management system, disappointment will prevail. The melding of generations in the workforce also pose myriad challenges as expectations and information habits are diverse and complicated making engagement difficult.

Which is to say that engagement in a digital world is more important than ever to organizational health.  Preparation, discovery, experimentation, commitment, systems-orientation and listening are the new ingredients for a recipe that shapes and satisfies workforce interaction.

It’s truly a great time to be doing what we do!