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We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement by Kevin Kruse, Rudy Karsan

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Chapter 6. Harmonization = Engagement + Alignment

Always aim for complete harmony of thought, word, and deed.

Mahatma Gandhi

What Is Employee Engagement?

Despite the high unemployment that accompanied the Great Recession that started in December of 2007, business leaders still stay awake at night thinking about how to hire and retain great talent. They know that the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and effort of their workers are critical to both immediate and long- term success. The ubiquitous phrase, the "War for Talent," has been used as a rallying cry that encompasses everything from recruitment to training to retention, and those things remain critical. But with leaders looking for productivity gains from every avenue and with the pressure of recruitment temporarily eased, employee engagement has become the hot priority. But what exactly is it?

Let's start by clarifying what employee engagement is not. It does not simply refer to employee satisfaction or happiness. Although satisfaction is one component of engagement, a satisfied employee might still be one who hops up from their desk at 5:00 PM sharp, or takes that head hunter phone call looking for that 5 percent bump in pay, or goes home and mumbles "fine" when asked how their day was at work.

Engagement, on the other hand, although uncommon, is something you can easily recognize when it's present. You see it in the waiter who addresses his regular customers by name. You see it in the office worker who looks up at the clock mid-afternoon ...

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