Formerly Employee Engagement Manager at Grass Roots and Engage for Success movement core team member. Simply an all round engagement geek!
Sharing bite sized employee engagement related thoughts, articles, quotes, clips and more.
This blog is for anyone interested in employee engagement. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and continue the conversation in the comments section.
This is not a commercial blog. It is simply an outlet for my thoughts, and a chance to connect with others in the community.
Views are my own and not necessarily shared by Engage for Success or Grass Roots.
This is the first in a series of posts I intend to write following conversations with my mentors ahead of me starting my new role as Head of Employee Engagement at Kier Services. This is partly an aide memoir for me but also - why not share so others can benefit from this sound advice?
This lunchtime I spoke with Nita Clarke.
Nita is Co Chair of Engage for Success, Director of the Involvement and Participation Association, previously advisor to Tony Blair on the Trade Unions, one of my mentors, with a mischivous sense of humour and all round good egg!
I have worked for Nita in my role on the Engage for Success team and have been learning as much as I can from her through the powers of osmosis! But I would be mad not to pick up the phone to her and pick her brains…
Here is a short summary of what I took away from our conversation:
1) Get underneath the skin of any survey results - using focus groups and meetings to probe deeply and find out what is really going on for people. What are the barriers to engagement? Take your time over this. You need to really understand what you are dealing with before taking action, you need time to reflect and digest to make quality decisions and to prioritise effectively.
2) Use the 4 enablers of engagement as a guide in your questions and observations
For example, if people say they don’t trust their managers - you know there are integrity issues going on.
If people go to the union as their first port of call when there is a problem then you know there is a problem with the relationship with managers.
If people are being Tupe’d across from councils that will involve all sorts of complex reactions, they will want to know what this organisations is all about and may need to be convinced of why they should give their loyalty to it. What added value can Kier Services offer employees, what is the strategic narrative etc
Do they feel like they are truly listened to? What channels are available for them to provide feedback, how are they used? What is the level of union membership? What is the relationship with unions like? What is done with survey? What examples of employees contributing to strategic decision making?
3) Who is currently involved in their employee relations? Talk to the union reps, talk to the employee relations manager, find out the current state of play, areas for collaboration
4) Very important - make unions a key part of employee engagement strategy, they can contribute so much.
5) Don’t try and boil the ocean - work out whats going on, start with things that you can have impact with quickly that demonstrate your commitment then work your way through priorities. Remember it is a journey - you have to take one step at a time. Listen listen listen!
A very useful chat - confirmed some of they ways I had planned to approach things and gave me some new food for thought too. Many thanks goes out to Nita!
Nita recommend I read the report above and here are some other relevant resources:
You can find Nita on twitter on @Nita_Clarke or why not follow @Engage4Success
I will also do short write ups of the conversations I have already had that include David MacLeod, Cathy Brown, Wendy Leedham, Amber Kelly.
Next Mentor Meeting is booked next week with Francis Goss so look out for that too!
Highly visual pdf explaining why employee engagement matters, what it means and what an ‘engaged’ employee looks like. The evidence infographic, how we get ther
A brand new toolkit to help people have quality conversations about employee engagement. Can be downloaded to use as you see fit - perhaps using elements for presntations or printing off to use as handouts. Visually impactful and simple!
See on slideshare.net
I just finished watching the incredible debut mini series by Netflix ‘House of Cards’ based on the earlier political satire/drama of the same title. Starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and a cast of equally brilliant actors that captivate you right off the bat. These dubious characters inspire what I can only describe as ‘addictive disgust’!
Wow what a show! But enough of the gushing!
What I really wanted to highlight was just one of the many memorable quotes from the show, that really made me think. I suspect it will make managers all over the country shudder.
Let me set the scene without any spoilers.
Zoe is a budding new reporter, struggling to break free of the mediocre stories she is being asked to cover, and find something to really get her teeth into.
Soon enough the plot thickens and she finds herself with a willing and very powerful source - feeding her some of the best stories her newspaper has seen in years. As she breaks story after story, soon it is her that becomes centre of attention. Much to her managers disdain. After all she is only a ‘junior reporter’!
Then comes the showdown scene. After disobeying a direct order from her manager to stay out of the lime light, he gives her a right dressing down. She argues back. He loses control and calls her a very very rude word beginning with ‘C’.
Zoe being a street smart savvy young woman, tweets the offensive barrage, word for word, before telling her ‘superior’
"Remember, when you talk to 1 your’e talking to 1000"
As David MacLeod and Nita Clarke have often said - “When you ask an employee to jump - they used to say ‘how high?’ now they ask ‘Why?’ and genuinely expect to get a compelling reason!” They are not the only people pointing out this change in societal expectations (see recommended reading at the bottom of this post)
Anyway, the altercation between editor and junior reporter results in some very challenging times for said manager. Not only because of his hot headed reaction. Also due to his inability to adapt to the changing circumstances he finds himself in, and his denial of the long term relevance of social media for the news industry.
In the heat of the moment we have all said things that we would not want repeated. Does anyone have a completely clear conscience? Of course not! We are only human after all.
Even with that said, we could all do with remembering that the world is a far more transparent and connected place now. Before we open our mouths, whether that be to a friend, colleague, employee or customer, lets ask ourselves…
If everyone (colleagues, friends, family etc) could hear/see what I am about to say, would I still say it?
This particular episode of House of Cards and a number of books I am currently reading have prompted thought on a number of themes:
- The concept of obedience. Good or bad? Does it crush creativity and responsibility or create order and stability?
- The death of heirachy/deference - Is it a fallacy or are some just in denial?
- The implications of socially connected employees. What are the impacts on managers?
- The impact of and on those who just don’t ’get it’ yet. How to help?
- The reality that some people have different ‘versions’ of themselves for work/home/play etc. Should wholeness be encouraged i.e having one integrated version or is that unrealistic for some?
Would love to hear your thoughts about any of those themes. Please share in the comments box below!
About the series: House of Cards