At an informal dinner, I was recently asked, how do we ensure employees are engaged to make them feel important.

As usual, a lot of witty minds jumped in to share their intellect. The conversation revolved around taking the employees out for an outing to maybe a resort for a weekend. Someone mentioned giving away t-shirts and mugs helps. The idea of gifting i-pods also surfaced.Strange!

Why do employees need to engage in order to feel important? And important for whom? Themselves or stake holders?

Engagement and collaboration, if carefully managed, leads to members realizing the value of being with a community of like-minded people. A lot of minds perceive/confuse engagement with an offsite team outing or dinner or a trip to a resort to relax. But this only takes the minds off work and is that what organization wants? Keeping employees off work?

True engagement happens when employees overcome the barriers of teams, departments, BU, geos and start collaborating with one another and create an conducive environment for informal learning. Frequent and free flowing discussion forums, strategically planned watercooler sessions and leader-speak events ensure employees are engaged in a productive way.

I had the privilege to host Will Runyon (IBM Director, Workforce Communications, Sales Incentives & Global Recognition Programs) on our IBM Manager Community's watercooler call where he talked about IBM's Global Recognition strategy and programs. The strategy has evolved from being a gift-provider to a culture-creator process.

Let's watch this beautifully crafted video to understand why 'only-cash or cash like' incentives aren't the only incentives.

While we continue to ponder and inch towards another centennial, IBM is growing as a smart place to work where recognition is higher than dollars.

Cheers

KR