Engagement: Beliefs Beyond the Buzzword

Heather Haas
May 4, 2017


When I was a teacher I had a banner in my classroom that read, “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.” I liked it then and I recall it now because knowing your personal values can not only help you successfully navigate the pitfalls and pressures of life, but it also explains one of the most overlooked and under-tapped sources of authentic power and progress - one’s personal convictions and core beliefs.

Clarity builds commitment

When you have clarity about why you are doing (or not doing) something, it’s easier to personally persevere, and far easier to mobilize genuine commitment (as opposed to compliance) from others - whether they be sixth grade students, family members, employees, colleagues or friends.

Commitment = engagement

So, what does all this have to do with engagement? I believe that leaders must clarify their personal beliefs about the role people and culture play in their company in order to make genuine progress and improvements in employee engagement. Believing (as opposed to doing, feeling, wanting, or thinking something) is fully trusting in the worthiness of something and being “all in.” It is more than simply agreeing intellectually that something is true or right. It’s picking the hill you’re willing to die on. This matters to leaders because it’s only when you genuinely believe in something that you can you act purposefully and with conviction. It’s that authentic source of power and influence that drives achievement, change, and growth.

Engagement starts at the top

I challenge you to define your core beliefs about engagement so that it’s far more than a buzzword at your company. Employee engagement can’t be delegated to HR, or solved with an app, or improved through measurement on an annual employee satisfaction survey. Those things all help shine a light on how people are feeling, and those tactics are indeed important. However, engagement starts at the top with leaders who fundamentally believe (i.e. this is the hill they are willing to die on) the following.

  1. A healthy, high engagement work culture is a distinct, competitive business advantage.
  2. PEOPLE (not product, nor process, nor profit) put the meaning and magic in “meaningful work.”
  3. The leader’s job is to not only deliver results but also develop and care for their people who make the company, their families and their communities better.

I believe these things and ADVISA exists to perpetuate those beliefs within and among our clients. What do you believe about the role people and culture play in your company’s success? Have you articulated those beliefs clearly? Have you made decisions and investments that reflect those beliefs? To do so is to tap into catalytic power and influence to drive change and sustainable growth.

Heather Haas is President at ADVISA and guest speaker at RESOLVE 2017