There was a post up in one of my LinkedIn groups about the fact that there is another definition of employee engagement and that people are getting more and more confused — essentially, the distinction is as follows:

Research from the CIPD and Kingston Business School’s Centre for Research in Employment Skills and Society (CRESS) proposes two new levels of employee engagement – the ‘transactional’ and the ‘emotional’.

And there were a few comments on the site.

So, of course, I added MY thoughts to this concept, and I thought to repost them here. Engagement is an important area of my general thinking about organizational performance improvement and I am not one that generally spends my time, “Picking fly specks out of the pepper.”

Here is what I wrote:

One of my favorite quotes is, “Nothing made sense, and neither did anything else.” I thought I read that in Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, but a re-read failed to pick it up again. And that is my reaction to a lot of this nonsense about employee engagement not being important.


Okay, some people DO work for the money and only for the money. Think about those people who worked for MGM under Samuel Goldwyn, who was quoted as saying, “When I want your opinion, I will give it to you.” Okay, one would not expect a whole lot of job satisfaction from THAT employer.

But the numbers that these accountant guys collect clearly show that an engaged workforce is a more productive workforce and that this impacts the financials as well as things like customer retention. New customers come expensively — take all the advertising and divide by the number of NEW customers and the numbers are pretty shocking. OLD customers are retained and leave for price and dissatisfaction.

Same with New Employees. They come because there are jobs and stay because there are benefits. And the costs of training a new employee up to above average performance is pretty high, since only half could even be expected to achieve above-average performance results!

So, when the good, high-performers choose to leave, the holes that need to be filled are pretty large ones. And expensive black holes for revenues…

Another definition? Who cares! Those just reflect words and I never did understand the meaningful difference between Missions and Visions and THAT argument has been going on for 40 years…

For me, it all boils down to one simple thought:

“Nobody Ever Washes a Rental Car.”

If people do not share a sense of ownership, if they do not have a sense of involvement and engagement, they can be expected NOT to care about the organization and the job. Their days are numbered and the countdown has begun.

The Pin will hit The Balloon, the blowup will occur, and the costs of hiring and training and all that will begin, again.

The Pin hits the Balloon and people do get upset with things…

Nothing made sense… The cost of actually engaging someone is really pretty darn low and I can describe it in three words:

   (and ye shall receive!)