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Human Capital Management Part IV – Employee Engagement

An article in the Harv. Bus. Rev., Vol. 85, March 2007 at 115, describes 23 human capital management practices in five broad categories (See my posts of May 11, 2007 with the first 9 practices and May 28, 2007 with the final 14; and June 10, 2007 on Leadership.). Here are my references and comments on the four practices under the category “Employee Engagement”:

1. Job Design: “Work is well organized and taps employees’ skills” (See my posts of March 16, 2006 on A-players and A-positions; Sept. 10, 2005 on stuck-in-place lawyers; and Feb. 6, 2007 on processes and references cited.).
2. Commitment: “Jobs are secure, employees are recognized, and advancement is possible” (See my posts of June 15, 2006 as to why job insecurity blocks knowledge management; March 28, 2006 about more job security in a law firm; and Nov. 6, 2006 about in-house job security.). As to career paths (See my posts of March 6, 2006 on dual-track systems; March 28, 2006 on reasons to go in-house; and Dec. 28, 2006 on few promotions.).
3. Time: “Workload allows employees to do jobs well and enables good work/life balance” (See my posts of Jan. 6, 2006 on practice area benchmarks; Dec. 21, 2005 on the work-analysis tool; Aug. 26, 2006 on workload as a major challenge; Aug. 2, 2006 about the inability to quantify workload; May 21, 2007 on determinants of perceived workload; and June 10, 2007 on work/life balance.).
4. Systems: “Employee engagement is continually evaluated” (See my posts of June 28, 2005 on disengagement levels among general counsel; April 3, 2005 on the engagement index of Stanton Marris; Oct. 12, 2006 on engagement measures; April 16, 2007 on disengagement following another lawyer’s promotion; and Nov. 19, 2005 on the difference between engagement and satisfaction.).

What I do not see in this pro-employee list is anything about forced rankings or turnover (See my posts of May 4, 2005 on forced ranking of employees; Nov. 14, 2005 on arguments for it; and Dec. 1, 2006 #3 for research findings; as well as of Oct. 12, 2006 on low turnover rates in-house.). Where does this category address productivity and whether the value provided by an employee keeps pace with pay increases? What about dissatisfaction (See my post of May 10, 2006 on widespread dissatisfaction about hours worked in-house.)?

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