I’m quite impressed by the level of commitment in Britain to employee engagement, first demonstrated in the very comprehensive MacLeod Employee Engagement Report of 2009, written by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke. Then last Spring, an Employee Engagement Task Force was created to bring together HR practitioners with others concerned about how to best engage employees and encourage them to give of their best every day.
Just yesterday, Nita Clarke conducted a video interview with People Management magazine. (I cannot embed the video for you, but it is available here.)
A couple of excerpts were particularly poignant. First, this statement showing engagement continues to rise up the management agenda because more and more leaders and managers now understand that old models of management are no longer sufficient to get the best work out of employees.
[1:46 time stamp] How has the employee engagement agenda moved on since the report from yourself and David MacLeod came out in 2009?
Salience of issue has come up the business and performance agenda. People know increasingly that how they treat people at work is really going to be a crucial factor in the success of the organization. There is much more understanding of the importance of culture – of whether you have an environment in which people are encourage and enabled to give their best or whether you’re still stuck in the old command and control method, which really doesn’t work anymore. Today’s people, especially younger people, are not prepared to hang their brains on the door when they come in and just do what the boss says. One of the reasons employee engagement has gone up the agenda, is that it really highlights the fact that you have to treat people differently at work if you want to get the best out of them.
This next comment drives home the very critical importance of creating a culture that enables and encourages your employees to thrive. As Nita points out, employees must understand your core organizational values if they are to contribute in the most effective way, even as they choose to give of their best.
[2:52 time stamp] What would you say to organizations who feel they have to focus on survival and not on engagement issues in these tough economic times?
Employee engagement isn’t something else you have to do. It’s about understanding how you change the organization to put people at its heart. At the end of the day, it’s the people. … What makes your organization different from any other? What gives you the competitive edge? … It’s the people who work for you. If you can organize your workplace, if you can develop a culture – a style of a way of being – that enables and encourages people to give of their best because they are committed to the organization and they understand its values, then you really do release something that’s absolutely transformational. And that’s why people who think [engagement] is something else that you have to do are missing the point. If you look back at the last recession, organizations got through difficult times, by fundamentally engaging their workforces like they’d never done before.
Be sure to watch the video for more on how to make engagement surveys useful and other insights from Nita.
Have you seen employee engagement rise up the agenda in your organization in the last few years?