Where do you draw the line on staff engagement

December 22, 2017 by ahmed

staff

Originally posted on CustomerPlus by Richard Beevers

Are your people operating at anywhere near 100% of their capability?A simple exercise I use on leadership development programmes is to ask participants to draw a line as high as they can on suitably positioned flip chart paper. I then invite them to beat their first attempts. Second time around, person after person achieves a higher line and when I raise energy levels in the room by encouraging clapping and cheering the improvement becomes greater and greater. People become gripped and strain every sinew to achieve more.

I have done this with hundreds of delegates and never has anyone failed to beat their first attempt.

But why, when the first instruction is so clear? Draw a line as high as you can.

The exercise always generates a fascinating discussion about who performed best. Was it the person who drew the highest line? He just happened to be very tall. Was it the person who showed the most improvement? Or had she underperformed first time round? Was it the person who showed the least improvement? He was consistent but had he underperformed twice? Can people always operate at maximum levels without burning out?

This simple exercise tells us a lot about staff engagement. The fundamental learning point is don’t assume people will always do their best. You have to engage with them. Constantly, consistently and constructively!

There are many models of staff engagement and in bringing these together the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has proposed six themes:

  • Meaningfulness of work
  • Being able to feed your views upwards
  • Senior management communication and vision
  • Supportive work environment
  • Person–job fit
  • Line management style

These themes fit very well in Daniel Pink’s best seller Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Pink suggests that once people believe they are paid fairly these factors lead to better performance, not to mention personal satisfaction: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

So where do you draw the line in your efforts to engage your staff?

Do you emphasise and promote the purpose of your business? Do you let your people have a real say? Do you help them to be the best they can be?

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