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Dilbert’s Boss on Employee Engagement

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It’s been a while since we referenced the comic strip Dilbert here on The Methodology Blog. But that doesn’t mean the work of humorist Scott Adams isn’t as relevant as ever.

This time around, the topic of discussion is employee engagement. Take a peek for yourself:

Dilbert comic strip

This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned employee engagement. We’ve covered it back in 2009 when discussing an energy treasure hunt. We talked about it in 2012 with regard to disengaged employees who will quit soon. And the topic has even been covered by guest bloggers. In short, we’re interested in what makes employees want to do the work.

The pointy-haired manager is right in some way. If you have friends at work, you’re likely to be more connected to the workplace:

According to Christine M. Riordan, provost and professor of management at the University of Kentucky, camaraderie is a key ingredient to happiness at work for male and female employees. A study led by Riordan, published in the Journal of Business Psychology in the ’90s, found that the mere opportunity for friendship increases employee job satisfaction and organizational effectiveness.

Employee Engagement: Friends at Work

© Flickr user Nash Cook

But at the same time, is work really about friendships, or is it about results? And while many people advocate friendships at work, studies also show that you should avoid starting businesses with your buds. And aren’t you less likely to quit a bad job if you feel guilt about leaving your pals behind?

Ultimately, if you want to have more engaged employees, don’t worry so much about ensuring they get along. Rather, focus on providing a clear definition of results and work that is interesting, novel, and over which they have real ownership. Employees decide they want to work for you by taking the job, so why shouldn’t they decide what they want to do day by day?

That’s real engagement. Friendships are great in life, but may not always help at work. Business is about collaborating to produce results. Figure out what your employees need to be productive. Then, get out of the way.

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter


Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
@lorraineball First probably depends on the business. But second is likely training, especially with regard to sales. - 4 weeks ago
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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