On employee engagement

SimonEngagement3 Comments

As part of my role on the LGcomms national executive, I’m working on a one-day member workshop in early November on employee engagement.

It’s a fascinating topic and one that I think local government could do more with, especially as we head into another round of sustained funding cuts and financial pressures.

The Engage4Success movement is a great place to start if you want to find out more about what increasing engagement can do for a team.

This post caught my eye earlier on employee engagement and going with the flow in organisations – Sam Dawson talks about the Chinese concept of Tao and what that thinking means for how we can engage employees more at work.

He has three tips which make a lot of sense to me:

  1. Go with the flow. Well, not quite, but the most successful organisations use existing momentum within their business as a framework from which to hang employee engagement initiatives. There are many organisations who run engagement surveys and are looking to break the ‘you said, we did’ cycle. Remember a survey in itself is not going to drive engagement or business performance.
  2. Sow the seeds of engagement. We know from many of the high performing companies we partner with that the key to their engagement success is the ability to embed the concept of engagement at local levels. These organisations use an engagement model that resonates with employees on the ground, and a commitment to enabling them to be successful is often the key.
  3. Enable your workforce.  Ensure employees are set up for success. The best organisations ensure that their people have the right resources and their jobs are structured for optimal impact. This helps them stay ahead of the curve, increase performance and retain talent.

The “go with the flow” idea makes a lot of sense. Rather than trying to force an agenda or a message that doesn’t fit with the existing currents of knowledge, belief and trend within an organisation, trying to go with and subtly develop existing narratives should be more successful than setting off in a completely new direcrion.

The ability to embed engagement at multiple levels is consistent with the Viral Change approach to using internal networks and influencers to drive engagement.

Fascinating stuff and definitely an area that communicators should be familiarising themselves with and championing.

3 Comments on “On employee engagement”

  1. Richard Bailey

    I invited community consultant Richard Millington to write something on the difference between public relations and community management for Behind the Spin (http://www.behindthespin.com/careers/building-communities-not-relationships).

    He makes the powerful point (also echoed by PR scholars Coombs and Holladay) that communication at best aims to achieve two-way symmetry, whereas community involves a multiplicity of relationships unmediated by the professional communicator.

    To take this another way, there are too many ‘control freaks’ in the comms game. I’ve long advocated ‘loss-of-control’ as a better approach. Surely that’s what’s needed for engagement to work. Stop telling and take a step back.

  2. Pingback: On employee engagement – Simon Wakeman’s blog | Public Sector Blogs

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