Wednesday, February 03, 2010

MacLeod - preaching to the converted?

I'm interviewing David MacLeod this afternoon. He's the lead author of the Government's Employee Engagement review - Engaging for Success published last year. While I'd read about the report before this morning - I hadn't really dug into the document. So I sat down after breakfast and have ploughed through the whole 157 pages since then.

I'm impressed by the weight of evidence MacLeod and his team have pulled together - great case studies, not just from the largest, best-resourced organisations, but from a good number of SMEs too. What's it's lacking is context: it states that the UK lags behind in terms of employee engagement, but doesn't show what other countries are doing better and or even where in the world employee engagement is already being seen to make a quantifiable difference to business on a more widespread basis.

However, two questions are burning on my lips - what happens next? And, isn't the report simply preaching to the converted.

I may be wrong, and happy for the author to correct me, but all the briefings I've heard about on the report have been aimed at HR people and communicators. But we're already bought in: we're doing the do, striving to make engagement the way of life in our organisations. The laggards seem to be at Board level: CEOs and primarily CFOs. I haven't seen much evidence of them being directly targeted as the key stakeholders in this report.

That could well be because the report is weak on just how leaders can deliver the cultural change necessary to create employee engagement. There's plenty of anecdotal evidence in the report - but it's not a toolkit for action - and the call to action is frankly weak.

So my second question is 'what next?' - The review aims to open up the debate, bring resources together and challenge organisations to respond. I'd love to know from the author just what that response has been.

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