One of my coaching clients works for possibly one of the worst bosses in the world. Their colleagues spend all day playing computer games. The physical environment of the office isn’t great. Yet despite all that, this client loves their work; they keep putting the hours in, they keep churning work out, they remain sanguine about the surroundings and just exude positivity. They are a real pleasure to be with. Whatever they have, I wish I could bottle it; because their behaviour under those circumstances is rare.
Most people working in those conditions would give up. They’d become disengaged from their work. Only about a third of workers in the UK are actively engaged. It is estimated that £25 billion of GDP growth is untapped due to this lack of engagement. We’ll only survive and thrive if we address this and build employee engagement to new heights in the UK.
My focus over the next few weeks is very much around employee engagement. I’m really excited: the new web site for Engage For Success (E4S) movement is going live and there’s a whole host of associated activities associated.
As co-chair of the E4S Guru group, along with Prof Katie Truss, I’m doing what I can to promote this.
- On Thursday, 15 November, I’m running some workshops at Horwood House in Buckinghamshire. Click here if you want to come to one of these events at no charge.
- On Monday, 17 December, my co-chair, Prof Katie Truss, has organised a conference at the University of Kent. I’ll be one of the speakers, and if you want to attend this conference, which is also at no charge, click here.
Put the dates in your diary, and if you can, do come and join in.
Over the last 18 months, a wide range of practitioners and gurus (academics, researchers, membership bodies and consultants ) have jointly created the E4S movement. They’ve gathered a wealth of information, evidence, tools, techniques and case studies to support UK plc in building levels of engagement.
So what is employee engagement? Well there are many definitions and I’d recommend you look at the report that David McLeod and Nita Clark wrote – you can download it here. It’s different in every organisation but there are some key factors that the most engaged organisations share.
- Leaders who facilitate and empower rather than control or restrict their staff – they behave in a coach like way. They understand who their people are, what their needs are, what drives them. They work with them to achieve success, personally, for the team and also for the organisation.
- Leadership that provides a strong strategic narrative, clearly expressing the purpose of their organisation and how people can individually contribute to that. People can see where their work fits in. A shared vision is key.
When I coach leaders and train people in our Professional Leadership Coaching Model, I’m supporting them to adopt this coach approach. And one of the first things we do is explore their vision. A leader has to understand where they want to go in order to build a team and inspire them to action. Our coaching supports them in that aim.
So, it would be a bit rich of me not to have my own vision. Mine is for a world of work where leadership and management is the best it can be, in order that organisations can be successful, and people can be fulfilled.
Not surprisingly, employee engagement figures high in that vision. And there’s a long way to go. But all is not doom and gloom. I see many great leaders and lots of engaged people and there are some great companies to work for. I hope yours is one of the best. I’d love to hear your stories – the good, the bad and the ugly.