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Monday, October 22, 2012

Soon, "CEO" May Mean Something Other than "CEO"

We all understand how difficult it can be to keep employees engaged at work. A Gallup study last year claimed that about 70 percent of American workers were either "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" at work.

Even companies that have a strong culture can find it difficult to keep all of their employees truly harnessed and happy -- profitably engaged -- all the time.

There are lots of antidotes to this problem, including the systematic and highly effective approach to improving employee engagement that we advocate.

And now add one more idea to all of that: the creation of a corporate engagement officer. The suggestion has been made by Kris Daggan, CEO of gamification company Badgeville, in a story in Direct Marketer magazine, that CMOs soon will be delegated the task of creating engagement strategies across the company in part by creating the position of "engagement manager."

Or, let's call that person the CEO: Chief Engagement Officer. Because ideally, the notion of engagement should be made the kind of priority that would land its chief internal proponent in the C-suite.

At first blush, the idea makes a lot of sense. American corporate culture has steadily added C-level titles to the traditional CEO, COO, CFO and CMO designations over the decades, to reflect the evolution in management thinking, the rise of digital technology as a strategic element, and other factors.

That's why we now have CIOs, Chief Quality Officers, Chief Knowledge Officers and other executives at the highest levels of companies where their very functions didn't even exist in previous generations.

Yes, we're suggesting that employee engagement is as important as those other functions and deserves its own designation.

Maybe not at the "C" level, initially. But engagement officer could, and should, be a significant function in companies that are aiming at long-term success.

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