More supermarket woes, and this time it’s personal. On 23rUnknownd December a member of one customer support team and I were staring, on our respective monitors, at the virtual trolley I had carefully assembled and sharing our frustration. Neither of us could advance to the checkout and finalise a delivery. This game was over. I found a workaround.

When systems fail like this customers get grumpy, but does the boardroom burn lights all night while senior management grapple for a solution? Probably not, especially at Christmas! Glitches like this don’t really threaten strategic goals or even top line performance. This will get delegated down to some beleaguered managers.

Imagine this scenario however: the Board gets told that the organisation’s entire IT system is running at one third of its capacity, and no plan yet exists to recover to 100%. Another situation to delegate or would we see some real executive action? This would be a threat, it needs a plan, it would need to get fixed… fast.

A ridiculous question to pose you might think, but that’s just what Nita Clarke of Engage for Success did at one of their recent industry seminars. And she followed it with this: so why do so many executive management teams seem somehow content to have only a third or so of their staff actively engaged with their work?

Countless surveys show that the majority of employees across industry are disengaged at work, some actively so. In a world where competitive advantage stems principally from a firm’s people, why doesn’t executive management really get behind this somewhat stubborn problem, instead of (generally) delegating to HR and those beleaguered line managers I mentioned earlier?

Just imagine the performance improvements if this got fixed! Employee contribution and wellbeing at work could be transformed and in many ways so could the business.  My prediction for 2015… more CEOs will want such a transformation. With more certainty perhaps, employees will increasingly demand it.

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