Download the employee engagement infographic and the PPT version.

This employee engagement infographic was my way of addressing a glaring omission in the debate around this important topic. (I write and draw about this topic because I used to do consultancy around social collaboration tools).

Everyone admits that employee engagement is important, but the measures to improve it show a lack of understanding on what makes people tick. No-one wants to look at the core issues behind a disengaged workforce: lack of autonomy, purpose and lack of opportunity to become a master at your craft. I recommend the book Drive by Daniel Pink if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

So instead of tackling these difficult issues companies resort to gimmicks like fun looking workspaces or free lunch.

Lack of (communication) autonomy

This cartoon infographic focuses on one core reason why employees are disengaged: lack of autonomy. It drills down to a subset of the topic which I’ve labelled communication autonomy.

Most adults prefer to have some control over their lives. They like to be treated as adults. Hierarchical communication systems do the opposite: they rob people of some of their adult autonomy in their daily communication process. Email is one of the main culprits in creating unnecessary hierarchy in communication. Hierarchy is not bad per se, it’s bad when it prevents you from accomplishing your goal and the organisational goal causing frustration in the process.

Simply by addressing the problem of communication hierarchy you can tackle one of the root causes of disengagement. As one solution I propose internal social networks like Yammer. It’s not a silver bullet solution (and the challenge of making a tool like Yammer work is another matter entirely..), but I believe it’s a step in the right direction.