Marshall Goldsmith: Don’t make the biggest mistake in employee engagement

Marshall Goldsmith has revealed what he believes is the biggest mistake HR leaders make when trying to engage employees.

He called on employers to make engagement a two-way relationship and put more onus on employees to become engaged in their workplace.

Following on from his interview with HRD Connect and appearance at the HR Directors Business Summit, Goldsmith noted that many HR leaders were only answering one side of the engagement equation.


Writing on his LinkedIn account, Goldsmith said: “As I listened to the presentation, I began to have a realization – everything that these great HR leaders talked about focused on what the company could do to engage the employees – absolutely nothing that they discussed focused on what the employees could do to engage themselves.

“As I listened, I thought, ‘This is incredibly effective presentation describing half of an equation.’ They were persuasively explaining how the company could increase the employee’s engagement and completely ignoring how the employees could increase their own engagement.

“This is the biggest mistake we make in employee engagement!”

Watch HRD Connect’s interview with Marshall Goldsmith


Goldsmith continued by suggesting it would be better to follow the emphasis of John F Kennedy’s inaugural speech – to ask what you can do for your country.

“While I respected and appreciated everything I heard from the HR leaders at the conference, I believe they were missing the most important factor in employee engagement – the person who is doing the work.

“It’s true that creating a great environment is a key factor building engagement, and we all have the opportunity to take responsibility for our own lives and to do our best to build our own engagement – regardless of what the company is doing,” he added.

Download and listen to the full interview with Marshall Goldsmith


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