This is the second extract of my new book “Punk Rock People Management – a no-nonsense guide to hiring, inspiring and firing staff”.  If you are in a hurry to read the whole thing, simply contact me with PUNK in the title.  You may also enjoy my new book The Music of Business, featured in The Guardian, BBC Radio 4 and The Sunday Times.  Here’s an extract from Punk Rock HR on the vexed topic of employee engagement.

HR gurus such as Gary Hamel at HR conferences seem to mouth the word ‘engagement’ more times per minute than Robert Plant used to sing ‘baby’ in the average Led Zeppelin song.  What does this mean?  Is engagement some kind of secret code for ‘in company dating’? 

Of course engagement is all about the 4E’s: getting people excited, empathetic, ecstatic and energetic about the company and what it does.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but what about achieving it? Some people think it is enough to apply the ‘3 W’s of engagement’ by posting the word engagement on every Wall, Website and WC in the company, in the vain hope that the repetition will somehow rub off on staff in some Orwellian approach to culture change.   Let’s look at an environment where many people feel engaged naturally.  The pub!

Pubs do NOT have mission statements that say:

“We aim to encourage sociosexual networking and leverage mission critical knowledge, skills and wisdom through the use of addictive depressant substances in a relaxing lifestyle environment that encourages the suppression of societal norms of decency and so on”.

Equally, genuine ‘employers of choice’ such as Google, Innocent and Unilever do NOT have such depressing mantras displayed around the office.  Isn’t there something very odd about that?  To get people engaged with your company, try some of these things:

Punk Rock People Management offers us three chords on engagement:

To finish we should of course watch the Sex Pistols perform Pretty Vacant for some punk rock inspiration.  It seems a bit mainstream these days really.  No need to throw a TV out the window at work today, of course ! 🙂