I've just come back from a really inspiring session at Birmingham City Council House (what a beautiful building!) about employee engagement, organised by my good friend and poker buddy Raffaela Goodby. It was part of the Engaging for Success taskforce, which was launched by the Prime Minister earlier this year. The goal of the taskforce was first to research whether engagement can actually drive growth (they concluded it can) and then to engage employees throughout the British economy so that our recovery is sustainable.
David MacLeod, who is chairing the engagement taskforce, introduced the session. David is brilliant; an entirely commercially-focused, people person. What he understands and communicates so well is that engagement isn't about some wishy washy 'make everyone happy' approach; it's about transforming the way businesses operate so they can grow and deliver more.
The aim of today was to bring engagement practitioners from public and private sector organisations together to discuss challenges and suggest solutions.
First, we had the opportunity to discuss the four enablers of engagement:
- having a strong, strategic narrative (this is where we were and this is where we're going);
- engaging managers (because actually without them nothing can happen);
- giving employees a voice (and then listening to them) and
- demonstrating integrity.
I heard some useful, practical tips on how to engage managers like measuring and benchmarking their engagement performance to engender a spirit of competition and, where personalities may find discussions about engagement difficult, presenting evidence and risk without forcing conclusions on people.
We also had the opportunity to discuss the engagement challenges in our businesses and where we think the taskforce should go from here (this was the first of 10 regional events across the country). I felt reassured to hear that other practitioners face similar challenges and it was incredibly useful to hear what practical stuff they're doing.
As always, the most useful bit was networking and meeting people who you can bounce ideas around with. It looks like the midlands engagement practitioners are going to carry on meeting quarterly, so if you want to join in or come along, follow Engage4Success on Twitter. All in all, a very good day - well done to the team from BCC for organising it so well.
(The video above is one that was showed today; it's used quite a lot but because it's so good at showing what great leadership is about.)
Sorry, correction, this is actually the video they showed: