3 Rules for Building Engagement

Engagement | 3 Rules to Build Successful Engagement

Employee Engagement, Patient Engagement, Community Engagement. What really works?  What causes people to become "engaged" in a cause or mission?  What creates an internal drive to participate and be involved?  What is engagement all about?

"Engagement" simply refers to the process in which an ongoing network of exchanges between people changes their behavior. These exchange patterns, when repeated in an environement where information, ideas and views are being exchanged across the group drive engagement. There are 3 key things to remember about successful engagement:

1. Engagement Requires Interaction - I do not mean interaction in just a one-to-one environment (like a boss to an employee) but in one-to-many exchanges in a networked process. It works best when the exchanges are multi-directional (across the entire team who are all linked in a common mission or purpose). This continuous exchange of information, ideas and views creates sustained behavior change.

2. Engagement Requires Cooperation - Everyone must feel a sense of "belonging" to the group. and that their individual contribution actually matters to the overall outcome.  So often, we fail to realize this as leaders - and we force our team to see their work as merely a "to-do" list rather than making a real contribution.

3. Engagement Requires Building Trust - Never forget that an expectation of future fair and cooperative exchanges is built on a history of fairness. We must make the investment first in extending support to others long before we should expect anything in return. It's called investing our "social capital."