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: Simply Saying ‘Thank You’ Could be the Key to Employee Engagement in the UK

A report published recently revealed that over half of UK workers would prefer to be thanked by their managers as and when they do good work, rather than with a single annual event for recognition; but still firms spend £35.6bn a year rewarding long service. 84 per cent of workers think managers and leaders should acknowledge good work at the time it happens, throughout the year.

Whilst the report is focused on reward and recognition, there is a clear relevance to employee engagement too. Most employees in the research agree that motivation and morale would improve in the workplace if managers simply said ‘thank you’ more and noticed when people do good work.

The research data simply add extra weight (as if it were needed…) to our long-fought argument that the relationship between employees and line managers is key to effective employee engagement, regardless of how much money you spend on initiatives and events. You could perhaps argue that the research outcome is so obvious that it was hardly necessary; it is just a case of simple common sense – and common courtesy.

But sadly, common sense does not always filter through to common practice; and common courtesy does not always drive manager-employee interaction (although happily it sometimes does). So we will continue to fight for continuous listening, continuous recognition and continuous thanks to everyone who does good work.

We’re sure you will do good work today: for that, thank you!

Steve Short – Emenex

Blog: United We Stand

The terrorist attacks that happened in Manchester and London have seen both the worst and best of human behaviour as individuals have sought to break a people in their so called ‘religious cause,’ so we have seen a coming together of so much good as each crisis unfolded and then as the victims emerged.

While members of the public put their own lives in danger by tackling rampaging terrorists armed with knives,the on-duty emergency services rushed towards the crisis while off-duty nurses, doctors, porters, ambulance drivers, police and fire professionals returned to their posts to make themselves available to help.

As was observed, these crises present the opportunity for individuals to dig into their reservoir of discretionary contribution as they respond to the clarity of purpose that presents itself.  While organisations would not choose to create crisis on a regular basis, the response of people to crisis reminds us just how important that clarity of purpose is to the successful engagement of people within organisations.

Read more.

Alistair Aitchison – Emenex

Your Employee Survey: When Positive Can Be Negative

The way you report your organisation’s employee engagement survey results is as important as the survey itself, according to research from Engage for Success published this week. The report, Engaging the Engaged?, warns of the risk of stifling the employee voice.  It’s based on research into employee engagement in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector, and its title is prompted by the finding that many of the 827,000 people employed in the NFP sector in the UK are engaged more with the cause than their organisation as a place to work. This means their employee survey results can show artificially high levels of engagement.

James Court-Smith of Stillae Ltd, one of the contributors, explained how percentage positive reporting – the common practice of grouping together the percentage of employees who have responded ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’ – denies employees of their voice: “Say I had scored ‘strongly disagree’ on a question last year, but then we’d made significant progress so this year I scored ‘neither agree nor disagree’. That’s a huge shift upwards but percentage positive reporting would totally ignore this.”

David MacLeod, Engage for Success co-founder and chair, said organisations ignored the employee voice at their peril: “It’s one of the cheapest and most effective ‘smoke alarms’ you can get because it means little niggles can be caught and acted upon early on.”

Infographic summary and report toolkit here.

2017 Employee Engagement Report

High employee engagement is a key objective for many organizations. But what distinguishes companies that are great at engagement, from those who are simply average?  An employee engagement white paper from BlessingWhite explores what distinguishes highly engaged organisations from organisations with average and low levels of engagement, as defined on the two main axes of the BlessingWhite’s employee engagement model – satisfaction and contribution.

By examining the factors that impact engagement and the role of each member in the organisation (from executive to individual contributor), we will be able to determine what actions and behaviours differentiate highly engaged organisations from the rest.

Key findings, the paper and recommendations here.

Coaching – Cult, Cure or Culture?

Cultures evolve and develop over time; values emerge, sometimes forgotten, sometimes sustained. Culture transports value, as do coaching conversations. We all engage in culture whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not. Which is why it is important to define the subtleties of what’s around us, writes Stuart Haden for the CIPD.

If it’s true that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ then it will devour coaching in an instant. Therefore, it is misleading to refer to coaching and culture in the same breath. Perhaps these words have only gained traction thanks to alliteration. Instead, developing coaching within organisations, whilst being aware of organisational culture, might be a more accurate target.

Read more.

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