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: Pseudo-Engagement or Real Engagement?

The term ‘pseudo engagement isn’t that new, but it doesn’t appear to have had a major impact in understanding of employee engagement. Perhaps that’s a mistake though, and we should be more aware of it, given the woefully low levels of engagement globally and in Europe, and the UK in particular.

Could pseudo engagement be masking reality for many workplaces, creating the illusion that engagement is higher than it really is? It is easy for managers to think they have an engaged team because everyone is happy and they meet their objectives at work; but engagement isn’t the same as happiness or satisfaction (which are more easily measured) and even organisations where engagement is low can be successful.

That is no reason to ignore the importance of engagement though; these factors can create a kind of ‘pseudo engagement’ that creates a false sense of security and lulls people into complacency. There is a huge difference between an organisation being successful and meeting its full potential. And it’s well known that employees can be very happy and satisfied at work without being even slightly engaged.

If organisations are to meet their full potential and not just a shadow of it, ‘real engagement’ is vital; don’t be deceived by the apparently effective but debilitating alternative of ‘pseudo engagement.’ Always insist on the real thing – listen to your employees, ask them the right questions and measure the right things… and then take action on what you hear.

Steve Short – Emenex

Blog: The Importance of the Employee Voice to Sustained Business Transformation

I recently met up with a friend who is the CIO of a large utilities organisation in the Asia Pacific region.  He was in the UK on a business trip as a guest of the professional services organisation that partnered with him through a recent business transformation project,  removing 10% of their cost in a 12 month period.

During his trip he was planning to meet with two UK based utility organisations that themselves had gone through a similar transformation process.  The question on his mind?  “How do you sustain the reduction in costs and ensure that you gain an improvement in business results once the initial transformation is complete and your professional services organisation has left?”

My first question to him was, “Who within your project has the responsibility for the enablement, alignment and engagement of those employees that will pick up the additional workload and ensure that the efforts of the transformation are not lost?”

Read more.

Alistair Aitchison – Emenex

Employee Engagement: The Emperor’s New Clothes?

A new paper from Engage for Success takes a critical look at the concept of employee engagement.

In a review of related literature, four main problems with engagement were highlighted: lack of an agreed definition, conceptual overlap with satisfaction and motivation, variability in engagement measures and a lack of robust evidence for the concept of engagement and its impact.

Download the paper for a summary of the evidence, together with advice and guidance on how organisations can get more from their engagement activities.

Opinion: Employee Involvement in Change Can be Messy – But it’s Necessary

While it’s hard work to get staff involved in making decisions, the payoff in engagement is well worth it, writes Mark LaScola for People Management

There’s a buzzword currently circling the business world: change management. When organisations restructure, implement new technologies or make significant changes, leaders turn to HR or change management professionals for help. ‘Help’ in this situation usually means multiple forms of one-way communication and training. But is that the only way to go?

Is it better to ‘pay now’ and bring employees into the process from the start? Or is it better to ‘pay later’ by crafting the change behind closed doors and unveiling it once it’s complete – hoping that free cake or movie tickets might deliver full and sustainable staff adoption of the change process?  Read LaScola’s viewpoint in full here.

Values & Career: Spare Change or Big Investment?

Have you ever wondered – asks Leah Clark for BlessingWhite – why so many individuals are unhappy at work? Not the “My office mate doesn’t clean the refrigerator” kind of unhappy, but profoundly unhappy at their job and, more broadly, with their career?

Unhappiness with their life or their job is because they are living in a way that is inconsistent with deeply held values. Conversely, when we act in accordance to our values, we are engaged, excited, and willing to extend discretionary effort to our work (and life). Knowing more about who you are and what you want begins with reflecting on your values – a kind of regular inventory; and Clark provides a framework here for making a start.

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