Engaged or actively disengaged employees. Where do you focus energy?

Here is a guest post from my good friend Ena Lloyd. A better biog will follow once I get some decent internet connection in Tuscany. Thanks Ena…..

I also attended the IdeasUk Employee Engagement network meeting, hosted by the Wales Audit Office in Cardiff, where it was great to meet colleagues not only from the Welsh Public Sector, but also the Voluntary and Private Sector who I fully intend to meet up with again to exchange some ideas.  There was great buzz on the day, particularly at the end of the workshops. All three workshops  were very engaging (pardon the pun but true!), very different, and were hosted by:-

They represent very different parts of the UK business but they all had two key themes running through their workshops:-

1.      Keep it simple; and

2.      You have to continually evolve to keep staff engaged.

What I also took away from all three workshops was that all three organisation had re-launched their staff engagement schemes several times since its initial launch and most importantly, that it’s OK to do this.  In fact, it’s essential for a number of reasons, namely, staff turnover, advancement of new technology and also to simply remind staff of the scheme. They on average, re-launch or update every two to three years. They viewed it very much as an evolving process.

There was an added moment of realisation for me in the Ricoh workshop hosted by Rob Bland and Chris Nicholls.  They were talking about the results of their latest staff engagement and the ratio staff engagement at their Telford.  They showed a recent slide which highlighted the level of engagement amongst their staff in terms of:-

  • Engaged;
  • Disengaged; and
  • Actively disengaged;

What Chris Nicholls said next, brought ‘yes of course moment’ to mind. He simple pointed to the part of the slide which highlighted  the engaged staff, and said, we only focus on these staff. Adding we do some work with the middle ground of staff who are not engaged to see what we can to try to convert them to being engaged. However we don’t not worry about the actively disengaged,…………………… Why waste our energy, as we are unlikely to convert them, We focus only the staff who are engaged and make no apology for this.

When Chris said that, i immediately saw parallels between the concept of focussing on engaged staff and the mantra which is constantly being repeated on the successful House of Tiny Tearaways programme by the eminently sensible Dr Tanya Byron, child psychologist. She constantly repeats to parents struggling with the challenging behaviour of their young children, acknowledge and praise positive/good behaviour in children.  Ignore or don’t acknowledge poor behaviour.  Well it’s just the same for adults really isn’t it!

What I’m taking away from this is simply this, direct your resources where there is greatest impact. If some people don’t want to engage, don’t waste your energies.

About WhatsthePONT

I'm from Old South Wales and I'm interested almost everything. Narrowing it down a bit: cooperatives, social enterprises, decent public services, complexity science, The Cynefin Framework, behavioural science and a sustainable future. In 2018/19 I completed a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, looking at big cooperative enterprises and social businesses in NE Spain and the USA. You can find out more here: https://whatsthepont.com/churchill-fellowship/

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