Monthly Archives: April 2007

Zengagement: No Complaints

Complaining, wanting all the conditions to be just the way we’d like them, doesn’t get us anywhere. In fact, we’re just distracting ourselves from the task at hand.

Dr. Joseph Parent, Zen Golf.

Grieving an employee engagement sunset…


Can employee engagement lead to employee disengagement?

I felt sad reading how the Saskatchewan labour relations board put a halt to employee engagement activities for SGI, an insurance company in Saskatchewan. The sadness was that the very concept that could enrich the workplace for all had become a source of dispute between the organization’s management and union.

Here are a few snippets from the Regina Leader-Post article on the halting of SGI’s president’s employee engagement team (PEET):

The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (LRB) had ordered a temporary halt to all activities conducted by SGI’s president’s employee engagement team (PEET), including handing out bonuses under its employee recognition program.

The Saskatchewan Insurance Office and Professional Employees’ Union (COPE) Local 397 filed a complaint with the LRB in January alleging SGI had committed unfair labour practices by negotiating directly with employees through the establishment of an employee engagement committee in April 2006, which was composed of in-scope and out-of-scope employees.

The union claimed the committee gathered employee-related information, made recommendations and took steps to implement changes which related to the terms and conditions of employment of in-scope employees.

The union also complained that the employer had undermined the collective bargaining process by promoting the initiatives of the committee, by unilaterally paying bonuses to employees without the involvement or knowledge of the union and by failing or refusing to bargain these matters with the union.

SGI denied that it had committed an unfair labour practice through negotiating directly with in-scope employees by way of the president’s employee engagement team, the primary objective of which was to increase employee job satisfaction and engagement in the workplace.

I am not close enough to this situation to understand the full extent of the issues involved. In addition, it is not my intention to judge either party in the dispute, I imagine there is validity to both sides on this issue. Rather, I want to express my dismay and grief that employee engagement – something I see so positively -became an issue that probably contributed to employee disengagement.

Engagement must be for all!

This article points out the need to ensure that there is mutual purpose for everyone involved with employee engagement initiatives. For PEET’s sake and the employee’s experience of work, I hope this does not set the sun on engagement for management, union, and the employees in this company. I wish them well as they sort this out and I hope the sun will rise again on employee engagement – making the workplace a better place for all.

Get Engaged:

  1. How do your employee engagement initiatives fit within the wider context of the organization?
  2. How would you avoid having something similar occur at your workplace?

Photo Credit: Crescent Moon Sunset by

The sense and cents of employee engagement


According to Shepell-fgi research group: Money not only isn’t everything – it isn’t the main thing when it comes to motivating employees.

How people are treated and how they view their managers have almost twice the impact on motivation and results compared to pay and benefits. Money does not appear to enhance productivity.

Rob Phillips, CEO of Shepell-fgi stated:

We all like some parts of our job more than others. But when overall engagement is low and when your staff prefer to not come in to work or aren’t performing at their full capacity, it costs the organization money – up to an average cost of $1.80 million for a company of 1,000 employees.

Employees want to have trust in senior management, be asked for their input, and have a clear say in decisions that affect their work.

Money is the employee engagement paradox: money is not a key driver of employee engagement for the employee yet it costs an organization great deals of money to have disengaged employees.

Get Engaged:

  1. Ensure you spend time not just money with employees. Work is as much about making sense as it is about making cents.

Photo Credit: The snail and the coin (Economy goes slow) by