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Symposium: Engagement is dead! Long Live Engagement!


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Joining Forces in Practice and Research

30 June – 2 July 2017

University of Roehampton, Center for Research in Social and Psychological Transformation

Symposium: Engagement is dead! Long Live Engagement! Applying Meaning – & Purpose-Centered Interventions to Enhance Employee Engagement and Organizational Effectiveness

Panelists: Ken Howard, Alice Ballantine Dykes, Sharon Mccormick, Gordon Medlock, Shizuka Modica, and Luis A. Marrero

To enhance employee engagement and organizational effectiveness, the Meaning & Work Division of the International Network of Personal Meaning (INPM) presents this symposium focusing on applications of meaning- & purpose-centered theories and practices in the domain of work. Panelists present case studies of consulting and coaching interventions, management practices, and research demonstrating the importance of meaning and purpose for employee engagement and organizational impact. These cases demonstrate the principles of Positive Psychology 2.0 and the conditions for sustained employee engagement and well-being.

Businesses have been scratching their heads about engagement for some time now. Whilst millions of dollars are plunged into engagement surveys and ‘interventions,’ the Gallup stats have barely shifted in 16 years. Only 30% of the American workforce feel engaged in their work, and at least 30% area actively disengaged. This may be because ‘engagement’ has been seriously misappropriated to mean ‘going the extra mile,’ or ‘giving 110%’ – instead of the core concepts of psychological safety and meaningfulness.

Now, let’s imagine what organizations would look like if they really nurtured key engagement qualities at work. Given that ‘engagement theory’ was an answer to work motivation, we must also re-imagine organizations as environments where Self-determination Theory’s autonomy, relatedness, and competence live and breathe.

How about Higher Purpose? It replaces, often wrongly, the concepts of ‘vision, mission and values’ and gets used as a stick to beat employees with, rather than a tool to inspire and engage them. Responding to an urgent need for more meaningful work, the symposium explores the potential for Higher Purpose to drive bottom-up, human-centered transformation.

Then we’d have engagement. Real engagement.

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