I admit it. I’m a geek.
Watch just about any Star Trek episode and you’ll hear the Captain order the pilot to engage the thrusters, warp drive, or some other equally cool scifi doohickey.
As it so happens, engaging a warp drive is a pretty good analogy for engaging an employee workforce. To engage something is to commit it to a given cause, process, or event. In the case of the USS Enterprise, the ship can tool along the galaxy on auxiliary power quite happily, thank you very much. And that’s really all it needs, if it’s just going to cruise about. But if the crew of the Enterprise really needs to get somewhere, and in a hurry, they must engage an additional resource—the warp drive. Plug that cool little piece of hardware into the system and now we’re talking business.
Your employees can likewise be engaged or (as all too often is the case) disengaged. Oh sure, you can still keep plugging along with minimal engagement from your employees, but this is really just “keep the lights on” sort of performance. Tap into their passion, their energy, their ambition, and their desire to do something great and you’ve got warp drive.
You can’t buy this kind of engagement, you can only inspire it. This is what a thriving workplace culture can do. It can inspire employees to adopt the organization’s vision and mission as their own. It can tap into their intrinsic sense of motivation, allowing them to commit themselves heart, might, body, and soul to the collective organization and its customers.
It’s not about tricking or paying them to commit more; it’s about giving them something worthwhile to commit to. And when they do engage, all ahead, warp factor 10!