David Zinger is internationally respected as one of the most important employee engagement experts in the world. Here is our interview.
David Zinger is internationally respected as one of the most important employee engagement experts in the world. Here is the interview he kindly took the time to answer for Tap My Back:
David: I have spent 15,000 hours on engagement and love the term as long as we think of it as a verb (engage) rather than a noun (engagement). I love the action and the infusion into our work. I actually remember reading the first article by Kahn that come out on engagement just over 25 years ago and thinking it was a helpful way to look at things.
David: That is not the engagement I think of. Everyone needs to benefit from engagement and engagement can improve employees’ wellbeing, relationships, career, and contributions. If is is not of mutual benefit than to me it is not engagement it is manipulation!
David: I am not a measurement survey guy so far better minds know. My background is in psychology so I do like operational definitions and control and experiment groups. I think it is time to stop trusting what all the consultancies and experts say and start testing to see what actually makes a difference.
David: We should worry every day we fail to recognize someone. This is not some kind of soft mushy thing it is about being human. The bottom line is not the bottom, it is supported by the work of all in the organization.
David: That really is the full focus of my work and simple is not necessarily easy. I don’t want a shopping list and the sense you tick a box and engagement is done. I believe there are 10 to 20 key behaviors that employees can do, managers can do, and leaders can do. For example recognizing so many people everyday and seeing if that makes a difference or enacting behaviors that increase energy for all.
David: We can have a mix — the key is that both are engaging and meaningful and not stupid exercises that suck energy from everyone.
David: I see if differently. I think we attribute too much to being a certain age, I am 61 but being 61 in 2015 is a lot different than being 61 in 1980. I think we are more alike than different. Let’s see where we are joined and connected rather than attributing certain things to people of certain generations. I think that is often superficial and often not that helpful.
David: Some prefer private recognition. Some times money is also tangible recognition too. Is is not either or it is how they are used and the meaning attributed to each.
David: Going through the motions, being inauthentic, and actually believing it is making a difference.
David: I trust it will die in one of two ways. It will die as a fad that never achieved its promise or it will die because it is integrated into the very fabric of how we work, manage, and lead so to use the term engagement would not be required because that is just how we do things around here. I will do all I can to try and ensure it dies the second way!
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