The Engagement's Off!

Jo Moffatt
Managing Director
Woodreed
Blogger
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Heart being torn apart
I’m about to add a whiff of heresy to the proceedings – but like all heretics it’s with the best of intentions.

We need to stop talking about employee engagement. That’s it. Let’s put it out there.

The problem with employee engagement is the terminology.  The minute you give it a name the arguments start.  What does it mean?  Yeah, but is that really right? What else should we call it? How do we define it? How many angels on the head of a pin? Yada, yada, yada….

More importantly as soon as you give it a label it then has to become someone’s responsibility. And whose responsibility should it be? And if it’s someone’s responsibility then it will need to be measured. So how do we measure it?

Re-wind.  Stop.

If we stop calling it ‘employee engagement’ then it all becomes so much easier.
Let’s stop debating the terminology and focus on the outcomes instead. Then it becomes clear that it’s a whole business issue with real value and benefits to the organisation. It’s a board level, leadership level, managerial level, team leader level responsibility.

With proven outcomes like these:

• Profit – twice the net profit; 2.5 x revenue growth
• Customer satisfaction – 12% higher customer advocacy
• Productivity – 18% higher
• Innovation – 59% of employees at their most creative
• Absence – down by 50%
• Turnover and retention – 40% lower turnover
• Health and safety – fewer workplace accidents
• Efficiency – 35%
Source: Engage for Success

Let’s stop talking about employee engagement as a topic, a discipline or an endgame and focus instead on doing 4 things that will make a difference to all of these business KPIs:

1. Have visible, empowering leaders who can share a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going.
2. Recruit, train and support your managers to better focus their people and give them scope; treating them as individuals, coaching and stretching.
3. Give your employees a voice for reinforcing and challenging views;  acknowledge them as central to solving your business challenges and driving innovation.
4. Have organisational integrity – make sure the values on the wall are reflected in the day to day behaviours of EVERYONE in the business, at all levels. There is no ‘say – do’ gap, anywhere.

These 4 enablers all underpinned by your brand, the driver of emotional engagement, are the catalyst for transformational change within any organisation.

As you implement policies to address these you’ll see improvements to KPIs and you WILL be enjoying underlying employee engagement improvement too – no more measuring employee engagement one dimensionally with employee surveys.

So stop the love affair with employee engagement and embrace business success instead.

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