I recently went to an event where speakers apologized after every mention of the word “engagement.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Well, I apologize because I know you’ve heard engagement a lot today.” Or “I apologize for bringing up engagement again.”
Yes, employee engagement has moved into the category of corporate buzzwords. It’s front and center with disrupt, synergy, seat at the table, unicorn, at the end of the day, and scalable. Oh, and let’s not forget purple squirrel. I’m sure there are plenty more. But IMHO, being a buzzword is okay. Especially if we haven’t figured out another word that better represents the concept.
For example, in the case of employee engagement, Blessing White has one of the best definitions for the concept. “It lies at the intersection of maximum contribution for the business and maximum satisfaction for employees. It’s a sustainable level of high performance that benefits both the company and the employee.” Frankly, that’s a great definition. Even for a buzzword.
I completely understand that business professionals can glom onto a word and use it frequently without regard to the consequences. I have my favorite words and phrases too. I’m sure others are sick of me saying (or writing) some of them. Yes, they’re buzzwords. But they communicate something very valid.
Instead of backing away from corporate buzzwords, I would encourage people to use their buzzwords wisely. Use them sincerely and in proper context. Give them the importance they deserve. Because if you apologize every time you use a buzzword, doesn’t that diminish the point you’re trying to make?
Until we find another way to say employee engagement, I think we should all be okay with using employee engagement as the term. Yes, it’s a buzzword. But it’s also a very important concept to our businesses. It’s a buzzword that represents billions in human and financial resources. And we should treat it that way.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby while strolling the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida0