Monday, June 4, 2012

Congrats on Your Engagement!

Engagement ~  an unusually powerful & complex 
Human Resource Management concept.
It is currently, no doubt, the most popular buzzword in HR since, well, probably since the Personnel Department married into the Human Resources family decades ago... and maybe even before then!

Yet, regardless of when engagement came into vogue, the conventional wisdom walking down the isle for many domestic staff managers is:

1)  Productive staff are happy types who are fully engaged in their jobs.

2)  It can then be deducted if a staff member is engaged in their jobs and happy, they will be productive.

Therefore, the only thing managers need to do in order to produce the appropriate service delivery is to facilitate engagement and happiness... and productivity will naturally follow.  Right? Well...

Not just a few majordomos, fresh from the honeymoon of their own employment contract nuptials, often make it top priority to follow the siren call (or expectation from well-meaning Principals) to "keep staff happy"... may follow the seductively simple formula of:

happy workers = engaged workers = productive workers = service expectations delivered.
Engaged and happy ~ what's not to love?

As it turns out, however, the open secret which Organizational Development professionals have known for years is that productivity has a rather slippery and not-always-so-honest relationship with engagement... and even with her rather attractive, yet somewhat temperamental, half-sister happiness. Given all the side glances, can anything be done to save this downstairs romance, or is engagement's infatuation with productivity destined to be just another affair?

And so then, how are you developing positive and productive relationships on your domestic estate... to ensure productivity, not simply engagement, is dating your domestic staff citizens for the long term - and that your Principals' experiences, not simply their expectations, will still be around in the morning?

Wall Street Journal's Lauren Weber now takes us on a chaperoned date with engaged staff.