Is the tail wagging the dog when it comes to big business delivering its strategic intent?

By Jane Sunley, Business Author and CEO

As the result of research commissioned in response to the confusion and ambiguity around employee engagement, Purple Cubed came up with a simple, tweet-sized definition for employee engagement:

“The right people, doing the right things, exceeding expectations, enthusiastically”

I recently shared this information as part of a presentation to a large group of finance directors and accountants at an ICAEW FM Faculty event. One commented that in his company, only a certain percentage of people could be rated as ‘exceeding expectations’, so this would never work for them. There were a few other nods of agreement around the room.

There was some debate about how this could be measured. Put simply, my view is:

  1. A clear strategy at top level is set which is articulated simply and well
  2. People suggest, discuss and agree personal goals to contribute to (1)
  3. Clear outcomes and metrics are also agreed
  4. They are provided with the tools and circumstances to be able to succeed
  5. People report back via smart tech which also tracks and measures progress
  6. They do it, review it, refine it
  7. Some exceed, some don’t, though the expectations are clear

OK so there’s a little more to it than that but you get my point? However, the response was that the system just wouldn’t allow so many people to be rated as ‘exceeding’.  Even in the 21st century, so many organisations are stuck with ‘the old ways’; complex and out-dated methods of operating and measuring, some designed as far back as the industrial revolution; most long before many of today’s working population were even born. Years before the advent of technology as we know it.

Combine this with the challenges of attracting, engaging and retaining talented and productive people, and big business is surely set for a big shock if it can’t break out of old, restrictive (perhaps destructive) ways. It’s time to think differently – before it’s too late…

And don’t just take it from me:

  • Only 13% of the working population does much more than show up on time and meet the minimum expectations for their job (Gallup)
  • Engagement and culture skyrocketed to the no. 1 issue around the world.  (Deloitte). Yet their research with employer ratings website, Glassdoor, shows that only half of all employees would recommend their employers to their friends…
  • Half of ‘team UK’ intend to change jobs this year and, for those aged 25-34, this figure rises to 72% (CIPD)

People are looking for workplaces with meaning, where they can achieve, make an impact and feel proud – let’s give it to them.


Download Purple Cubed’s latest research – Engage, Enable, Empower

2016-04-19T08:56:40+00:00 April 19th, 2016|