Your ten second take away; 

If you’re only interested in getting the most out of your employees, then Employee Engagement is a waste of money. 

If, and only if, people are central to your strategy and you really want to get the best from and for them, Employee Engagement offers great value.

Search for the words Employee Engagement on Google and you will return approximately 51M hits.

Search for the words Employee Engagement Programmes and you will return approximately 15M hits.

Employee Engagement is big business, has momentum and is thus surely a good thing!

But is it also a waste of time and shareholder money?

Before you jump onto the bandwagon and launch an Employee Engagement programme, it’s worth taking a look at the following articles, which offer a more sceptical perspective.

As is so often the case with new concepts and approaches, much of what is touted as Employee Engagement is indeed a waste of time and money, is, in practice, snake oil sold as the elixir of corporate life, silver plate presented as solid silver, rotten meat disguised by strong spices and powerful sauces.

The same old wine, just in new bottles.

And yet, lets not dismiss employee engagement simply because of this. Instead, let’s be a bit more careful when looking into the evidence of what does work and let’s not get seduced by the purveyors of snake oil.

Because these is real evidence of the power of employee engagement to make a difference to organisational performance in the right circumstances.

if you haven’t yet done so, you must read the MacLeod Report.  Here is the link to a pdf of the document.

And whilst it may still leave you a bit sceptical, the authors do put forward a pretty compelling case for the value of employee engagement, done right.

So, on the one hand Employee Engagement is a good thing, for you, your employees and your firm.  On the other hand it can be a waste of money…and on the other other hand, there are a lot of people trying to sell you on stuff under the guise of it being good for employee engagement.

What to do?

You could do nothing – that’s the timid, wait and see option.  You could do something, but with care.  That’s the sensible option, the option for organisations who want to continue to compete and thrive, to remain relevant and successful.

And if you intend to follow this option, here are some suggested questions and steps you can take;

Are people central to our strategy?  If not, then STOP RIGHT HERE. 

If people are simply ‘resources’ to be plugged in or out, replaced when they have reached the end of their useful life or are no longer productive enough, then you don’t need an employee engagement programme. 

If instead, people’s intelligence, creativity, innovation, skills, motives and performance are key drivers of your organisational success, then you very much need to ensure that Employee Engagement is a core aspect of your business.  So please continue and perhaps answer the following questions.

What could Employee Engagement do for our organisation?  Take a look at the outcomes mentioned in the MacLeod Report and apply them to yor business.  What difference would it make to you achieving your Vision and to the creation of Organisational Enterprise Value?

Where are we on Employee Engagement today?  Establish your Baseline with a survey but make sure it is a survey that covers all the bases…not simply those that the snake oil sellers want to you to focus on. 

Take a look at our ExtraMILE Model if you want to be sure that your survey covers all the relevant areas.

What external support do we need?  The right partner can make a difference to the effectiveness of any Employee Engagement Programme; so you may wish to explore the following;

  • What is the partner’s underlying philosophy and approach to Employee Engagement?  
  • How do they approach creating the right solution for our business?  
  • What do they do to ensure we learn from them and avoid becoming dependent on them?  
  • What references can they provide?  
  • What is the personal chemistry between us and them?
  • Are they willing and able to challenge our preconceptions?  Do they ask ‘Why’ questions?
  • Are you prepared to take some time?  

Employee Engagement is an enduring process rather than a quick fix.  If anyone tells you different then they are in the business of selling snake oil or sliver plate, whatever they may say.

Are you ready to start today?  Employee Engagement is important, when done well.  I suggest you begin to figure it out sooner not later.  Good luck and feel free to give us a call whenever you feel the need for some input to challenge your status quo…and of course to answer the question;

Is Employee Engagement a Waste of Money for my Organisation?

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