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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: Should Business be Investing More in Middle Managers?

Writing for Forbes.com, Adrian Swinscoe argues that that the learning and development of front-line and middle managers would be enhanced by establishing a regular feedback mechanism between them and their team. You can read the article here.

Swinscoe points out the research that shows 70% percent of the variance between top quartile and bottom quartile performing companies, in terms of employee engagement, can be explained by the quality of that organisation’s managers. Here, he is beating the same drum that we at Emenex have been beating for years now: the relationship of every employee with their immediate line manager, regardless of seniority, is the key relationship that has the most impact on how engaged an employee will choose to be at work.

Swinscoe points out that team leaders would do well to ask their employees every week:

  • What did I do well last week?
  • What didn’t I do so well?
  • And, what do you think I could do to get better?

He quite rightly points out that such an approach needs “the right sort of culture (accountability, openness, honesty and commitment to learning, development and improvement) and the right level of management and leadership approach to get the most out of it.” But the key that is missing here is trust. Without trust, no employee will provide such feedback (at least, not necessary honestly and constructively). Trust is always the underpinning factor in how willing employees are to really connect with their managers – and as we know, that relationship is key to everything.

Sadly, this degree of trust is not always present; it can be helped in part by coaching in how to give feedback that is critical in a constructive way. When feedback is given in the wrong way, there is the very real risk of damaging, rather than building, relationships.


Blog: The ‘Career Web’ – The New Professional Journey

Last week, while travelling on the train to a meeting in London, I had one of those ‘aha moments’ that reveal themselves every few years.  While reading an article in HR Network Scotland magazine  I encountered a new term that fits very nicely into my paradigm of career development – the ‘Career Web’.

For some years now, in our ‘Take Charge of Your Career’ workshops, we emphasize the changeCareer Webs that are taking place in career paths and how the traditional career journey, that saw employees  jump from role to role, as they escalated up the career ladder, have all but gone.

As organisations have flattened, so has the opportunity for such career progression disappeared, being replaced by lateral moves and work related assignments that expose employees to a much broader set of experiences, helping them to gain knowledge and develop skills and behaviours that will stand them in good stead for operating within markets that are truly global in scope and nature.

The article entitled “The Career Ladder is Dead – Long Live the Career Web,” forwarded that 24% of Millennials have already worked in four or more industries  while 59% of 65+ professionals only every worked in a maximum of three roles during their entire career.

Making sideways moves and strategic sector-swapping is now looked upon more favourably by employers with 84% of those polled believing that employees who have moved jobs or sectors on several occasions will have gained more transferable skills and are therefore more attractive as employees.

The concept of a ‘Career Web’ feels much more in keeping with the reality of career journeys in the current working environment  The ‘Career Ladder’ was always fraught with problems that saw many employees reach their ‘level of incompetence’ that resulted in them being promoted beyond their ability and desire and, in many cases, ending up on the employment scrapheap at an early age, or being side-lined to make way for others to prove their worth.

There are some soptimismectors of business today that are loaded with managers that don’t have the skills or behaviours needed to succeed in their working environments, but are now stuck in key roles that are significantly inhibiting their organisation’s ability to perform well, and causing many lower level employees to lose motivation as they see their career ladder pathways blocked.

In a working environment that is changing rapidly,  loaded with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, a shift in perspective is needed and perhaps the concept of the career web will help to modify perspectives, enlighten career decision making and ensure that we are not facing the same issues of demotivation and disengagement that continue to plague organisations today.

Alistair Aitchison, emenex


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


Engage for Success – New Year Radio Show…

Strengthening Organisational Outcomes by Continuous Listening

Emenex was delighted to accept E4S’s invitation to speak on their first Radio Show for 2017.  We were interviewed about the recent ‘sell-out’ joint seminar we designed in collaboration with E4S – hosted by IBM Kenexa who made a strong contribution by way of thought leadership around surveys and employee voice.  In the usual way, the show is available to hear online.
[We’re being persuaded to repeat this seminar in February and March; dates to follow soon – Ed.]

Don’t Replace Your HR Department, Refocus It

Todd Richardson, writing for Forbes.com, tells us of the pressure felt by HR to be replaced or consumed by other business functions. But here he offers an alternative: to refocus and re-energise your HR investment.  It’s time he says to evolve how we think about HR services and discuss how we can maximise the effectiveness of our greatest assets: our people.

He does, however, have ideas about what HR ought to offload, and then sets out key functions upon which to focus.  Of these he emphasises employee engagement, claiming ‘not only the most neglected but arguably the most important.’


Opinion: Tapping Your CEO’s Emotional Triggers for Employee Engagement

Even though industry professionals such as (E4S) David MacLeod and Gallup have publicised the practical benefits of employee engagement, management’s interest is fading, claims Nigel Purse for HC Online.

He reckons presenting a host of statistics to CEOs is ineffective – even if it features monetary gain.  Instead, they need something to connect the issue to them emotionally. Experts have identified three main emotional drivers that motivate positive (rather than negative) behaviour of those in management roles: autonomy, reputation and legacy

Giving careful consideration to these emotional drivers when relating to your CEO will prepare you well for their responses. Take care not to apply these changes too forcefully, but take steps to involve employee engagement far more in your business strategy, and the rewards will soon become evident.  Read the piece in full here.


‘Employee Engagement – The Future of Work’

CIPD Shropshire Branch
Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Hear Cathy Brown, Chief Executive of Engage for Success speak at this evening event, exploring the practical ways that we, as employees, as HR professionals. as managers and as leaders can build engaging, sustainable work place cultures.


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