Each week we bring you news, opinions and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Motivation,  along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.

 International Service Learning

The Business Impact of International Service Learning

Many companies recognise that International Service Learning (ISL) is an effective, strategic tool to develop leaders, engage and retain employees and offer career mobility. Whether such programmes work in the short term is pretty straightforward to assess, but this new (2015) study reveals the longer term impact on participants and the associated return on investment for their employers. Five multinationals shared evidence from their respective programmes, including Microsoft and GlaxoSmithKline.

ISL programmes are defined by the fact that employees travel across international borders to apply their work-based skills to a project or other assignment that serves a third party constituency.

Measured against Kirkpatrick’s four levels, results showed that well-designed and implemented programmes achieved significant and lasting impact at all levels of learning. Of note were the strengthening of competencies related to career mobility and leadership.

In addition, Employee Engagement was generally high amongst respondents with positive responses to increased pride, loyalty, motivation as well as alignment with the business values, objectives and priorities.

Careful programme design paid dividends, and the study provides useful insight for building successful outcomes. In particular, (i) matching employees’ skills and expertise with the assignment and (ii) assignments that address a real need yield stronger results in all of the impact areas.

When assignments address genuine needs of partners, the participants and their companies benefit more strongly – a triple win-win-win.


 It’s time to move beyond engagement.  Empower and align employees with organisational priorities to build a culture of high performance, well being and career satisfaction.  To learn more, call 03450 523 593

Blog: Responding to the Earthquakes in our Lives

EarthquakeThis week’s blog is from Alistair Aitchison.  How do you react to sudden, unexpected events?  Alistair’s own recent experience has got him thinking about what people do in emotionally charged situations.  Read More


Rule Heavy Workplaces Stifle Creativity

In the latest Employee Outlook, a report from the CIPD has found that a lack of empowering leadership is preventing employees fully utilising their skills and ideas at work.  This lack of autonomy is cited as a key constraining factor and is impacting on productivity.  Common barriers experienced by employees include:

  • unnecessary rules and procedures (28%)
  • not having the right resources (28%)
  • office politics (24%)

Our own research and experience with our extraMILE framework supports theses findings and highlights the importance of aligning individual capabilities and motives with organisational infrastructure, values and priorities.

The CIPD report offers other important insights and we will be delving further into its findings in a future issue of our newsletter.

Mini Case Study: Building Careers in Higher Education

One of the challenges for career development in the Higher Education sector is a perceived lack of opportunity.  Working with the University of Derby’s OPD team, Steve Short developed a workshop programme to help employees take charge of their own career development and create their own opportunities.  The objective is to enable staff to overcome the challenge of  limited ‘upward development’ (i.e. promotion).  The “Develop Your Career” programme opens people up to different ways of approaching career development, maximising their opportunities for changing their contribution and bringing more value to the organisation. And we know that doing this also improves employee engagement.

Comprising individual assessments, discussion-based exercises, and time for personal reflection and career goal setting, the programme provides a real opportunity for participants to invest time in their own career and, critically, to take charge of their own career development opportunities. Every participant leaves with a development plan, giving clearer view of the steps to take to make their career more satisfying.

To find out more about how the Develop Your Career programme could support people in your organisation, please call  03450 523 593 and ask for Steve, or complete our contact from.

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

Why is Employee Development So Elusive?

The excuses—such as it’s too expensive and takes time—are all rubbish. The apathy toward this critical business imperative has a significant ability to damage a business and is doing so across the world.

So concludes Kim Janson, having been the senior person on Talent in several Fortune 500 organisations, working around the world for more than 20 years.

The world is getting faster, more demanding, more competitive, smarter, and is changing constantly. Are employees doing the same? Are they getting faster, stepping up to or are ahead of the demands, becoming more competitive or adding to their knowledge base at the rate of the changing marketplace? Frequently and sadly, the answer is, “No” he claims

In this article for Training Magazine he gives reasons for why employee development isn’t happening and goes on to share his Big Picture Perspective to challenge this status quo.

He places particular emphasis on culture: “Cultural change drives behavioural change. Behavioural change is essential to create a pipeline of high-performing and talented employees.”  Organisations that have institutionalised the idea of continuous improvement and growth have powerful cultural and developmental beliefs which he lists and expands upon.

It isn’t difficult to get right, and over time it really pays off.

Engagement starts from the top

“If you want eggs, take care of the hen,” said Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corp. “If you bully or kill the hen, it’s not going to work.” In employee engagement, reports Ron Thomas, “it is a given that if your senior team is engaged, the workforce, for the most part, is engaged. It also works the opposite way. Disengaged leaders produce disengaged employees.” The secret at Kyocera was to change employees’ mentality, showing them that the firm is committed to their employees’ growth. Read the full article to see how Inamori did it.

Most businesses today are not run by innovative leaders who are highly engaged. Employees don’t focus on things like market share, percentage of growth, margin share, etc.  Motivation must be on a more emotional level, something that is engaging, exciting and provides a compelling reason to get involved. [And is role-modelled by leaders at all levels in the organisation – Ed] Having a CEO that walks the talk is very reassuring.

There are no short cuts to building this kind of engaged organisation, concludes Thomas, but “these simple meaningful gestures will resonate more with your people and give them a real sense of purpose. ‘You take care of me and I will take care of you.’ Yes, it is that simple.”


 About Emenex

We help you keep your people great.

Emenex helps organisations get the best from and for their people.  Organisations approach us when they have challenges with engagement, motivation, productivity, retention, talent management,  management development and succession planning.  They know that addressing these critical issues delivers higher levels of profit, productivity and customer satisfaction. They also know that a more progressive solution is required – one that delivers above and beyond expectations and enhances their brand with customers and staff alike.

Emenex has a great track record in supporting organisations with consulting expertise, tools, resources and skills needed to deliver the required results.  The continued growth and development of both teams and individuals builds loyalty, commitment and engagement.  An organisation that has aligned its values, priorities, structures and resources is better able to meet future challenges leading to higher performance and customer satisfaction.

The result? Individuals and their organisation excel. 

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