In this never ending conversation about employee engagement, it occurred to me that we need to clarify something.
Engagement isn’t a concept only for full-time employees.
Part-time employees need to be engaged. Seasonal and on-call employees need engagement. Regular contractors should be engaged. And honestly, independent consultants need to be engaged.
If companies look at engagement as a “full-time employee” issue, they’re missing the big picture. For example, a disengaged part-time employee can easily poison a full-time workforce. So it’s important to think of engagement in terms of everyone.
That goes equally for independent consultants. Companies can tell when a consultant who isn’t engaged walks through their door. You know who I’m talking about – consultants who don’t look like they’ve done any homework about the company or industry before showing up. The same consultants who don’t sound like they invest in their own professional development. (Side note: If companies expect employees to invest in their own professional development, they should expect their consultants to do the same. Just sayin’.)
When everyone is included in the engagement conversation, it also means engagement becomes about more than pay and benefits. Because in most companies, program participation can be defined by employee status. That’s okay. In fact, organizations shouldn’t muddy the engagement conversation with pay and benefits anyway.
Engagement is directly linked to our relationships: with the company, within our department and most of all, with our manager. This has nothing to do with employee status. And everything to do with being an employee.
I still hear quite a bit of conversation about companies changing their workforce to avoid work around accommodate comply with the Affordable Care Act. It makes me wonder if businesses realize they might be trading one challenge for another. Sure, they don’t have to pay for health care. But then they will pay in poor morale, lost productivity and employee disengagement.
Part-time, seasonal and on-call employees provide a valuable resource to businesses. They deserve to be engaged too.