Employee engagement and inclusion isn't a cognitive issue. It's an emotional issue. The problem isn't out there. It's in here. We want employees to be engaged and feel included, while we ourselves are detached, distracted, disengaged, focused on our To Do lists and the stock price. We want others to bring that elusive, coveted "discretionary effort" in the door with them every day but we don't have time to engage in the kind of conversations that could enrich our relationships with them.
The fact is, not having those conversations will take longer and cost more in the long term. When you disengage from the world, the world disengages too, in equal measure. It's a two-step, you and the world, you and your organization. Your employees lost interest in you because you lost interest in them. Calling them associates or partners is often window dressing. If you want high levels of employee engagement you must gain the capacity to connect with your employees - at a deep level - or lower your aim. And that connection occurs or fails to occur one conversation at a time. If you're a fan of Angry Birds, the eagle is to Angry Birds what human connectivity is to the relationships central to your success. It gets the job done!
What gets talked about in your company, how it gets talked about and who is invited to the conversation determines what will happen. Or won't happen. Your conversations must be fierce — conversations in which you and others come out from behind yourselves, into your conversations, and make them real. Once an organization crosses the line into "fierce" territory, very little else is required to create a culture of highly engaged, kick-ass employees. Without such conversations, your platform may be smoldering.
So how can you “do” engagement in your organization?