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Engagement Puts Meetings and Incentives at the Forefront

I asked three smart friends if they’ve ever heard the term, “Enterprise Engagement.” (I also asked three not-so-smart ones.) They were all clueless. I just heard the expression this week. Wikipedia tells us EE focuses on achieving long-term financial results by strategically aligning the engagement of customers, distribution partners, salespeople, and all human capital outside and inside of an organization. This approach unifies the organization under the banner of continually seeking to find better ways to help the end-user customer enhance the relationship with channel partners and suppliers and ultimately create new opportunities for the business rather than simply finding ways to improve processes. Companies run on the basis of Enterprise Engagement principles include McDonalds, Southwest Airlines, and Campbell Soup.

There’s a growing community devoted to Enterprise Engagement. There are articles on techniques and best practices. There’s an industry of companies helping to implement Enterprise Engagement programs inside all sizes of organizations. There are suppliers with products geared to this sector – many of them are rewards and recognition program developers. There’s the Enterprise Engagement Alliance and a magazine, Engagement Strategies. And there are case studies of how companies are launching and developing EE initiatives.

Enterprise Engagement is closely aligned with the meetings and incentives industry. Meeting planners and incentive professionals are in the business of shaping activities to influence attitudes, behavior and revenue. ROI is imbedded in their consciousness, measured by employee motivation, knowledge transfer, happy users, qualified leads, and eventually heads in beds, if you will. Once again, meetings and incentives are positioned to play an enhanced role in The Bigger Corporate Picture, driving principles and branding at every turn. Communications. Information. Rewards. Recognition. Achievement. Perception. At a time like this, there’s more at stake for the people who plan meetings and incentives. There’s also more at stake for the venues that host them.

For years, meetings professionals have been burdened with the ancillary task of justifying their own worth and that of the meetings they create – as if they didn’t have enough on their plates. As companies assess the importance and value of Enterprise Engagement, seek out best practices to achieve it, and pursue new levels of communications and awareness for their employees, customers, vendors, partners and any other stakeholders, don’t underestimate the opportunity for meetings and incentives. One could argue engagement starts, builds and continues via the meetings industry. If ever the profession wanted to be acknowledged in the Executive Suite, here’s the chance.

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