Building an Engaged Economy

The ‘Disengagement Economy’ – what a terrible term. In an article on Huffington Post, Robert Hall describes it as the result of a broader mega-trend, the “steep relationship decline across home, work, politics and faith.”

Every business is concerned about the productivity, commitment, performance, creativity and innovation of their staff, but it comes as no surprise that people are disinterested in work. There are too many leadership approaches and methods stuck in a bygone era. Turning up to work every day doesn’t constitute commitment, and the more people are restricted by the maze that is bureaucracy, the less innovative they are likely to be.

Having Millennials in our workforce has driven the importance of employee engagement and culture, and the key focus is on relationships – prioritizing productive employee and customer relationships (because they’re the “most valuable, value-creating and value-sustaining asset” to quote Hall) and building relationships that are grounded in a ‘commitment-worthy’ purpose.

Hall also talks about multiplying your power by giving it away. Straight from Zen. I sing the same tune – as a leader, your job is to create leaders by empowering them and giving them the decisions to make. To sustain a company, you’ve got to have leaders at every level, not just at the top. A leader is someone who inspires everyone they come into contact with to be the best they can be.

Every generation is different. Millennials are committed to their jobs, they want to work at socially responsible companies and they carry expectations of having a dream job or self-management. I say that providing freedom, not rigidity, is the key to harnessing engagement and talent. Let them go and get out into the world, to have other adventures and start their own ventures. This is how we’ll counter the “Disengagement Economy’ – by building a culture of enthusiasm, experience and fresh ideas.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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