Every two weeks we bring you opinion, news and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Organisational Performance, along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.

Editorial: Key Employee Engagement Challenges Organisations Expect to Face in 2017

Last month Emenex co-facilitated a seminar with IBM Kenexa and Engage for Success, to explore Employee Voice – one of the key enablers of employee engagement, based on research conducted by Engage for Success. 45 participants at the workshop shared their vision for Employee Voice in their own organisations, and recognised that achieving those visions would require some barriers to be overcome.

So what are the barriers that attendees anticipated will need to be addressed in 2017? There were many, but they broadly fell into four themes:

Perceived attitudes of employees
More than half the respondents considered the attitude of employees to be a barrier to higher engagement; identifying cynicism, mistrust, lack of confidence to speak up, existing low engagement, resistance to change and survey fatigue as key barriers to be overcome, if any strategy to hear the Employee Voice effectively is to be successful.

Senior leaders being poor role models
Given the key role of senior leaders in establishing culture, it is sad that about a quarter of organisations represented observe that senior leaders often demonstrate poor (or no) commitment to listening to employees. In some cases it is a simple case of them not ‘getting it’, being unwilling to tackle negativity expressed by employees and indeed, in some cases, themselves expressing negativity towards the organisation.

Conflicting priorities & expectation of immediate results
Conflicting priorities result in engagement related activity being pushed into the background, as the focus is placed on factors that show more immediate results and are more easily measured. Our experience shows that for many employees this creates a sense that it is just a ‘tick-box-and-move-on’ exercise.  This results in lack of commitment and lowers engagement. It is a particular challenge because, often, engagement rises slowly, but faster improvements are expected than is likely to be possible.

There are also challenges identified arising from communication across multiple levels of management, and between departments and/or regions, resulting in slow action and difficulty in maintaining momentum.

Lack of resources and incompatible technology
It is perhaps not surprising that lack of resources is a common theme, given the challenging and uncertain operating conditions being experienced by many organisations today. Some of this relates to people resources, and some to IT and other technical resources. Uncertainties over Brexit, external factors and technology pose barriers for some, while others report inconsistencies in IT infrastructure across different parts of the organisation; although it should be noted that this issue in general was less widely reported than the previous themes that are more related to people.

From this research it is clear that some significant challenges lie ahead; but it is also heart-warmingly clear that there is a huge appetite to rise to the challenges and really embed listening to Employee Voice in organisations, capitalising on the extra energy and engagement it will produce. Undoubtedly in our view, Employee Voice will be one of the key factors employers must get to grips with in 2017, if they haven’t already.

Blog: Now is the Time to Tune-in

This last week has resembled a general election as, one-by-one, police forces across the country have declared that they have received calls from individuals who claim to have been sexually abused by their trusted football coaches.  While most of these accusations are historical, some involve club members who are still involved in the game today.football-coach

What is remarkable is how long it has taken for this issue to come to light, and yet there are hundreds (probably the top of the iceberg) who have suffered over a period of many years.  Once the cork has popped, however, the flow is constant.

Unfortunately it would seem that football is one of those sectors where there is no conversation on certain important topics, and certainly no one is listening when key issues are raised.  In fact, continuous conversations are still not commonplace in so many organisations.  Read more.

Take Charge of your career, team or organisation by aligning individual goals with organisational priorities. To learn more, call 03450 523 593

Employee Engagement: Learn to Love Your Bricks

In this creative and thoughtful article, employee engagement expert David Zinger encourages us to have a more immediate focus. He writes: You know the story of the three bricklayers at the same work site. When asked what they were doing one says, “I am laying bricks.” The next one says, “I am making a building.” The third says, “I am creating a cathedral.”

The story is often told as a moral story about seeing a greater purpose and meaning to your work. The third bricklayer is pointed out as a person with purpose. “But”, says Zinger, “I am partial to the first bricklayer who saw what was right in front of him. I am not opposed to cathedral builders and greater purposes but I believe we need to learn to love our bricks. Feel your work.”

Zinger goes on to give some examples of how you can do this, showing that your brick is always the work right in front of you in this current moment. He concludes, “Go ahead, get some kicks out of your bricks. What’s your brick?” You can read the full article here.

Case Study: Metropolitan Police – Kingston Branch

“Employee engagement is all very well but you won’t change the culture.” That’s pretty much what Glenn Tunstall, Chief Superintendent of Kingston-upon-Thames borough was told when he took responsibility for 450 police men and women.

Always up for a challenge, Glenn was determined to prove that there was a clear link between staff engagement and performance. He looked
at the crime solve rates across the police force and mapped them against the engagement scores and found that they were almost identical. Now he just had to prove that the link went from engagement to solve rates and not the other way round! Engage for Success have published this report summary using SlideShare.

Personnel Today 2016 HR Impact Award: KP Snacks is the real McCoy

See coverage here of last month’s award to winners, KP Snacks.  Understand the challenges they faced, clear details of their solution, and some the beneficial outcomes they achieved.  In addition, several firms as runners-up are featured in the same way.

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