By Bruce Bolger, Managing Director, Enterprise Engagement Alliance
Since its inception in 2008, the Enterprise Engagement Alliance has set out to create a formal business discipline based on helping organizations achieve financial and other results through the proactive involvement of all of their people. So ambitious was this goal that we dared not call the EEA an association, but rather an alliance of like-minded business professionals and academics funded by cutting-edge engagement solution providers who share the view that Enterprise Engagement may be one of the most important professions to be born in the 21st century.
Today, based on the growing number of executives with “engagement” in their title and on the support of numerous visionary firms and organizations that have helped nurture the EEA, we feel the time has come to move beyond sponsorships as our sole source of funding and institute a membership model encompassing all of the corporate practitioners, engagement solution providers, academics, students and young professionals focused on this new area of business.
What are the benefits of membership? Chiefly, to promote learning, obtain certification and access a network of help and support with implementation of engagement solutions – either as professionals in corporations, government or not-for-profit organizations, or as companies or consultants who provide engagement services. And, in a larger sense, to help promote the growth of a field in whose involvement members stand to gain personally and professionally.
The EEA’s mission, strategy and tactics are clear: to create a formal business discipline known as Enterprise Engagement with a formal framework, strategy and implementation process just like any other field. We are well along on this process. Our first Enterprise Engagement textbook already has over a dozen published chapters, with the first edition to be completed in April for Engagement University, April 6-8 in Nashville. Many chapters are available online, in text, and slides to registered users, and over two dozen practitioners and solution providers have passed the basic Certified Engagement Practitioner (CEP) test or achieved higher distinction. Throughout each year, new chapters will be created and updated with different aspects of the textbook shared and open to input at the annual EEA Engagement University event.
We knew the time had come to create a membership model when we realized the breadth and leadership of executives from all aspects of business who share our vision. Each member of our Board of Directors is involved because he or she in one way or another shares the view of Gary Rhoads, Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Brigham Young University’s Marriott Graduate School of Business and an EEA Board Member, who says that Enterprise Engagement could be the most important new profession since the advent of advertising.
This is a bold statement, but it’s supported by a highly qualified group of EEA Board Members that includes Curt Coffman, Principle of The Coffman Organization and author of the business best-seller First, Break All the Rules and his new book Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch; corporate practitioners like Susan Forgie, Director of Customer Experience at McAfee; Barbara Porter, Executive Director, Advisory, Customer Practice at Ernst & Young LLP; and Gina Valenti, Vice President, Owner Services, Hilton Worldwide; and experienced professionals such as Rodger Stotz, who, as Chief Research Officer of the Incentive Research Foundation and someone with over 30 years of experience in the field of Motivation probably knows about more about the data that support Enterprise Engagement than anyone; and Mike Hadlow, whose firm, Engagement Technology LLC, has created cutting-edge engagement technology solutions.
And of course none of our efforts would have been possible without the support of a growing number of companies spanning the spectrum of Engagement that are represented on the Board by the first people who stepped up four years ago with a significant investment: Dittman Incentive Marketing, represented by company Principal Jim Dittman; EGR International, represented by company President Jeff Grisamore, and Maritz Motivation Solutions, represented by Paula Godar, Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
As board member Susan Forgie points out, “There is an urgent need to take the ‘journey’ out of Enterprise Engagement and establish an agreed-upon economic foundation, framework and implementation process so that we can reduce the time wasted shifting to a people-based model for maximizing profitability and organizational results.” Well said.
EEA membership funding specifically supports the creation and distribution of the Enterprise Engagement textbook content, not only for business professionals in sales, marketing, human resources, operations, training and all aspects of private and public enterprise and volunteer organizations, but also as a program for educators and students. Membership for students and academics, as well as their participation in our education programs, is complimentary for now.
If you believe that either you or your business can benefit from being a part of this growing field, and you share our passion for having a cadre of business professionals trained and experienced in Enterprise Engagement, we hope you’ll join us. For more information, go to www.enterpriseengagement.org/members.