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: When Less is More, Stop Adding…

This week, a client shared with me their approach to their organisation’s PDP (Personal Development Plan). What struck me about it was its simplicity: one page containing three spaces to record technical development needs, behavioral development needs and external /CPD requirements, followed by a simple table highlighting key actions, target completion and review dates.

No fluff. Nothing fancy. But what was really interesting was the process by which they had come to this simple solution. A more complex process had been migrated to an all-digital, all-singing, all-dancing learning and development platform, fully searchable and updatable with all the bells and whistles. And it failed.

Line managers and employees stopped engaging with the system. It wasn’t used properly and some didn’t use it at all, because the system just took too long to master and too long to complete. Completing a PDP became a nuisance and a negative experience.

With a much simpler approach – quick to administer and doable with a pen and piece of paper – people have taken it on board, now creating simple yet powerful PDPs to help both themselves develop and the organisation succeed.

Technology inexorably drives us to upgrade this process and update that system, as if the technology were the master and we the slaves. Sometimes, it’s better to just pare things back to the necessary minimum and re-engage with what really matters – what the purpose is.

What things in your organisation need paring back, to get back to the simple purpose for which they are intended? And what might be the positive effect of doing so?

Sometimes, less is definitely more.

Steve Short – Emenex

The Role of Government in Workforce Engagement

Despite having a central role to play in offering incentives to organisations to promote staff engagement, government has made cutbacks

UK productivity remains depressingly low, lagging way behind the other six countries in the G7. Research by Korn Ferry suggests only 48 per cent of people in UK organisations are as effective as they could be and, even in high-performing companies, this only rises to 55 per cent.

It is now widely accepted that engagement is a key driver of productivity, and both measures have been something successive governments have been keen to improve. “Given the link between engagement and productivity, the government ought to take an interest in figures like this for improving the effectiveness of the UK workforce,” says Mark Thompson, head of reward consulting at Korn Ferry.

This article from Raconteur reviews many new and planned government initiatives to assist industry. Nevertheless there have been legislative measures recently which run the risk of reducing, rather than increasing, engagement.

Why Culture and Purpose Must Align Within the Workplace

Purpose is about where your company’s journey is taking you. Culture is the combination of values and habits that will get you there.
Purpose is the why of your organization. Purpose is what gives work meaning. But – writes Adam Fridman for Inc – purpose is in danger of becoming “GWOP” – Goals Without Plans – unless it is aligned with your culture. Putting it another way, purpose is about where your company’s journey is taking you. Culture is the combination of values and habits that will get you there.

Fridman claims some people confuse the ideas of purpose, values and culture. They are three similar but distinct concepts. Here he unpacks and expands these concepts and directs his message firmly towards leaders.  He quotes Alyson Daichendt, Managing Director of Human Capital at Deloitte who says, “Culture and employee engagement always have to come first. Leadership models behavior and demonstrates what is important.”

Motivation Doesn’t Work: Here’s What Does

What really motivates people, asks Kevin Kruse for Forbes?

When people hear ‘motivation,’ they often think of classic incentives like bonuses, extra paid time off, and maybe the occasional pep talk. In truth motivation is elusive, because it so often depends on the individual and what makes them tick at any given moment.

So how can leaders begin a more practical approach to this challenging step in employee engagement?

In the search for answers, Kruse interviews Susan Fowler, professor at the University of San Diego and a senior consulting partner with the Ken Blanchard Companies. She’s a bestselling author, and her newest book is, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging.

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