Driving Engagement

Raising expectations

Measuring employee engagement is important. However, “you don’t fatten a calf by weighing it.” In fact, asking employees to express their feelings about the workplace raises expectations that something is going to change. If nothing then happens, employees are likely to feel even less engaged than they were before the survey. Action is key.

When considering what actions to take, there are two fundamental principles that need to be respected:

The actions should be meaningful (in terms of measurable impact on the business).

The actions (in most cases) should be owned by team members; it should not be a wish list for senior management.

Let me expand on that second principle. There has been much research in psychology around the paradigm of Locus of Control. Put simply, those that feel they have no influence over events (low locus of control) are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than those with a high locus of control. Apply this research to the workplace and you can see how damaging it would be to allow employees to hand their power (or control) to senior management.

Taking responsibility

The key is not simply for managers to hand over responsibility. It is, rather, to take responsibility for creating and nurturing an environment that is conducive to employees taking ownership for key aspects of their workplace. E.g:

·         Identifying obstacles to their productivity

·         Nurturing supportive relationships with colleagues

·         Sharing knowledge with less experienced colleagues

·         Being prepared to be open and honest with their manager

·         Recognising and praising colleagues (or even their boss!) when they have done a good job

·         Running a short training session for colleagues on their particular area of expertise


Challenge your team to take ownership for employee engagement. That, in itself, will drive engagement.