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Blog Posts

21
Nov
Engagement - The Challenges and Benefits of getting it right
The fourth installment in our Business Growth Blog Series written by our CEO Dr Graham Wylie

I had to go back to the management books for this blog because getting this right is so important. MRN uses the Gallup approach to Engagement. For the specifics, go to their website here. It will give you a much more detailed and accurate view of this technical management topic than I ever could.

What I can say is that here at MRN, we embrace it. We believe in the value of high scores, we strive to achieve them, and we use them to direct our efforts in line manager training, HR policies and projects in our day to day behaviours. We can't make our people engaged, that is down to them, but it is our job to create an environment that will allow it to happen the most. If you can achieve it, however, the results are clear: organizations with high scores are 31% more productive, 37% higher in sales and 13 times more creative. In the end, investing in the engagement of your employees if very profitable.

There are 12 questions in the Gallup engagement system:

1. Do you know what is expected of you at work?

2. Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?

3. At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?

4. In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?

5. Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?

6. Is there someone at work who encourages your development?

7. At work, do your opinions seem to count?

8. Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?

9. Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?

10. Do you have a best friend at work?

11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?

12. In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?

Your basic target is to get as many of your people scoring their experience in each area as a 4 out of 5 or higher. The more you achieve, the better the outcomes in terms of growth and profitability for the company, but also - getting back to our company purpose in an earlier blog in the series - the more people enjoy working in the company. This is, in my view, important on its own. To go a bit metaphysical on you, this is about fulfilment. I happen to believe this is as close as you can get to the answer to life, the universe and everything - slightly more useful, although infinitely less humourous, than "42" from Douglas Adams. Again, I cannot possibly do this justice, so if you want to learn more about that go here

So, it is a bit surprising to find me talking Aristotle and Douglas Adams in the same blog, especially since I started the topic because I claimed it to be actionable. I seem to be a long way from "actions". So, what are the actions? Well - that is up to you (sorry for the let-down. The Gallup questions are ALL actionable - but the right actions will be dependent on your particular situation. For some general guidance, go here.

What we did was read the questions, look at our lower or dropping scores and ask ourselves the question "what can we do about that"? If the people in your organization say they don't have the tools to do their job, ask them what they are missing then try to give it to them. Check your IT, define your processes, etc. You will probably know what they mean, but it is always best to check you're right (by asking). If they are not getting feedback, look at your line manager training and performance management systems. If they don't feel valued or have friends at work, look at your values, culture and behaviours. One of the best pieces of advice I had about working out your value is to look at why people say they leave your organization. In our case, people leave because they feel they have to work too hard. We recognise we value hard work, and we also learnt we need people with strong self-determination who are self-starters and can work in areas where they are expected to be creative and not be told what to do all the time - and this is now well reflected in our corporate values of teamwork, engagement and creativity.

Come back for part five next week which looks at Management Methods.

Posted by:
Toby Heath
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