Engagement is not just the latest buzzword. More and more, businesses consider how they are engaging with people as being crucial to the financial health of their companies.

Engagement can be defined as a mutually beneficial connection between an organization and a variety of individuals—customers, employees, shareholders, and the community at large. An engagement strategy addresses the personal investment and actions of these stakeholders. The goal is to improve relationships and brand understanding across many different kinds of interactions.

Recently, I became a CEP—a Certified Engagement Practitioner—and our company, Dittman Incentive Marketing, was the first to be named a Certified Engagement Solutions Provider (or CESP). We believe it is an important differentiator in the marketplace.

Why the CEP?

For one, we know our clients are dedicated to employee and customer engagement as a way to improve service and increase business. They have seen the statistics that show that engagement increases profits, reduces turnover, and leads to higher customer service scores, among many other benefits. Many already have recognition or incentive programs, but these alone are not a comprehensive solution. There has been a push in the marketplace to align meetings, events, incentives, recognition programs, milestones programs, surveys, employee development, and training. Our clients are also working to integrate communication and branding to be consistent throughout. As partners in their performance improvement programs, we want to help.

More on the Certification

The CEP was developed by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, the first association to bring together these many tools under a single umbrella. They have created a core curriculum as a framework for both businesses and service providers to understand the relationships between engagement efforts and outcomes.

The curriculum for the CEP exam was created by a team of corporate end-users, industry providers, and academics. The subject matter covers everything from the argument in favor of engagement to post-program measurement and analysis. EEA offers the course materials via webinars, regional seminars, and at Engagement University, which will take place April 28 to 30 in Nashvillle.  

My Experience

The CEP content has been helpful in my discussions with clients about their projects and priorities. Increasingly, meeting and incentive planners are expected to act as extensions of client organizations and to fully understand the context of their initiatives. We’re asked to make choices that reflect the branding and the values of our clients, from décor to content, and the CEP coursework provides a strong foundation for doing so.